Fitch keeps PH at investment grade, flags 'overheating risks'


Posted at Jul 18 2018 12:41 PM

A woman carrying a baby passes though a construction of the Metro Rail Transit on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. Dondi Tawatao, Reuters/FILE PHOTO

MANILA -- Fitch said Wednesday affirmed its investment grade rating on the Philippines, as it warned of "overheating risks" to the economy.

Alongside the BBB score, the debt-watcher also kept its stable outlook on the country. Moody's Investor Service and Standard and Poor's also rate Philippine sovereign debt at investment grade.

Domestic demand will "sustain strong growth" of up to 6.8 percent in 2019 and 2020, Fitch said in a statement.

"However, the agency believes the economy faces some overheating risks, evident from a rise in inflation, rapid credit growth and a widening trade deficit," Fitch said.

Recent moves by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas "may contain these risks," the debt-watcher said. The BSP raised its benchmark borrowing rate twice this year for a total of 50 basis points.

Government revenues will likely to improve to 16.2 percent of GDP in 2018 compared to 15.6 in 2017, which could "help preserve fiscal stability" given infrastructure spending, Fitch said.

Inflation is expected to average around 4.4 percent this year, before slowing down to 3.8 percent in 2019, it said.

The first package of tax reforms "signals the authorities' commitment to reform," it said.