Thursday, March 28, 2013

Upgrade of Philippines' sovereign ratings to investment grade status

The local stock market rallied to a new record high on Wednesday
following Fitch Ratings upgrade of the Philippines' sovereign ratings
to investment grade status.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained remarkable
182.35 points or 2.74 percent to close at 6,847.47 from Tuesday's
6,665.12 finish. This is the main index 24th record close for this

The broader All Shares index followed the same fate, advancing 70.60
points or 1.70 percent to 4,234.31.

"We are now officially an investment grade country with this upgrade
by the Fitch Ratings agency and this is an achievement that we all
should be proud of. We have been talking about this in the past 12
months and we think it is well deserved," PSE President and Chief
Executive Officer Hans B. Sicat said.

"Hopefully, the other rating agencies will follow suit so we can start
seeing more investors participate in the growth of our listed
companies and the economy," he said.

Jonathan L. Ravelas, Banco de Oro chief market strategist, said the
credit rating upgrade crystallizes the positive developments in the
country from government to financial markets.

"This could further bring more foreign investors to the country," he said.

Fitch Ratings on Wednesday declared the Philippines "Investment
Grade," the first-ever such rating achieved by the country from a
major western credit rating agency.

The upgrade of Philippines' sovereign ratings took into account the
country's strong sovereign external balance sheet, a persistent
current account surplus underpinned by remittance inflows and robust
economy that grew 6.6 percent last year, among others.

In Wednesday trading, almost all counters rose significantly, with the
market rally led mainly by property stocks that advanced 3.88 percent
or 105.83 points, services by 2.41 percent or 47.45 points and
industrial by 2.28 percent or 229.24 points.

The sub-indices of holding firms also rose by 2.17 percent or 126.37
points while financials by 1.73 percent or 30.32 points.

Only the mining and oil sector declined moderately.

Volume of trade reached 2.29 billion shares worth P12.92 billion.

Advancers won over decliners, 110 to 44, while 35 issues were unchanged.

Poor Dinagat Island in Philippines

Interior and Local Government secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday told
local officials and residents of Dinagat Islands that the
socio-economic development of the province remains a priority of the
national government.

"Lifting the lives of our poorest people is one of the priority goals
of our government," Roxas said after he and Transportation and
Communication secretary Jun Abaya distributed 77 "multicab" units to
different barangays and LGUs under the program "Bangon Dinagat, Para
sa Bag-ong Kaugmaon." Abaya also distributed ceremonially checks for
five barangay ports.

Roxas said that since President Aquino assumed office in June 2010, it
has been the long-standing policy of the national government to "bring
the government closer to the people."

According to Roxas, the 77 units of multicabs distributed to all
barangays of Dinagat Island is to bring national government closer to
the people through delivery basic services.

In his speech before Dinagat Island residents, one of the barometers
to measure the country's progress under the President's leadership is
to see the number of people living under the poverty line go down in a
province historically poor compared to the national average. Dinagat
Islands is among the 14 poorest provinces in the country.

He said that the country's economic surge should lift all boats,
emphasizing, "magiging ganap lamang ang pag-asenso ng Pilipinas kung
kaakibat nito ang pag-unlad ng Dinagat Islands."

"Walang ibig sabihin ang pamumuno ninuman kung walang laman ang tiyan
ng mamamayan. [Leadership is nothing with empty stomach.] Hindi
masasabing maunlad ang bansang Pilipinas, kapag hindi maunlad ang
Dinagat Islands. [No one can tell that Philippines is prosperous if
Dinagat Islands remains poor,]" Roxas pointed out.

"In our vision of national development, no province, no locality,
should be left behind; and for economic growth to be meaningful, it
must embrace all Filipinos. We've made modest progress towards this
goal," Roxas further explained.

He said the turnover of the 77 multicab units signals the beginning of
a more vigorous cooperation between the LGUs in the province and the
national government agencies to spur socio-economic development.