Friday, August 3, 2012

More Reasons to be Optimistic about the Philippine Economy (?)

IN THE NEWS from PhilStar Online

It's not often that one comes across this much good news about the Philippines in one day. Just posting these excerpts in case you missed them.

Stock market rises to unprecedented heights

The Philippine stock market is making its mark as one of the hottest emerging markets in the world, having outperformed many of its regional rivals this year on the back of rosier macroeconomic fundamentals, a resilient corporate sector as well as government’s resolve in stamping out corruption. An improved fiscal situation, a growing middle class, stabilizing political situation and vast natural resources have likewise brought the Philippines back on the radar of foreign investors.

In the first half of the year, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) vaulted to new all-time highs 19 times, rising 20 percent to close at 5,246.41 by the end of June. Last July 5, the PSEi shot to a new record high of 5,369.98. The PSEi has gained around 25 percent this year, making it the top performing market in Asia, outpacing bourses in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, India and China, among others. After a sharp rally, local stocks have gotten costly compared to other Asian stocks, making some investors reluctant to stick around. The PSEi, trading at nearly 16 times projected annual earnings or nearly double South Korea’s 8.3 times, is now showing signs of topping out. It is now down by more than four percent from a record reached earlier this month as the euro zone’s debt crisis has worsened. (Emphasis is mine - IJ)

Phl on its way to achieving investment grade rating

The Philippines is on its way to achieving an investment grade rating from international rating agencies amid the reforms undertaken by the administration of President Aquino who is in the first half of his six-year term. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said rating agencies led by Standard and Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s Investor Service, and Fitch Ratings have recognized the efforts undertaken by the Philippines. This came after S&P upgraded the country’s credit rating to one notch below investment grade on a stable outlook, putting the agency’s assessment on the country at par with that of Fitch that also rates the Philippines a notch below investment grade. Moody’s, on the other hand, rates the country’s sovereign debt at two notches below investment grade but recently upgraded the country’s outlook to positive from stable, paving the way for a favorable action within the next 12 months to 18 months. If the Philippines is granted investment status, this would translate to lower borrowing costs and further attract more investments into the country.

The Philippines has obtained eight positive credit rating actions from S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch since President Aquino assumed office in June 2010. This enabled the Philippines to attain its highest credit rating in 13 years at one notch below investment grade.

Investor confidence in Phl rises: P-Noy's good governance pays off

The Philippines has seen renewed investor confidence over the past few months largely due to the Aquino administration’s good governance thrust. While greater investor confidence in the country is a reason to celebrate, this also means the government must continue to work hard to implement reforms to sustain the momentum.

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