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Healthy fundamentals key to investor interest in PHL debt, DoF says

THE PHILIPPINES is viewed as an “attractive” destination for bond buyers because of its healthy economic indicators and ability to manage debt, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

“It’s been very healthy. Our previous issuances gained a lot of interest from our global investors. In terms of the reception of Philippine issuances, it’s been good and favorable, which shows we are in a good position,” International Finance Group Assistant Secretary Neil Adrian S. Cabiles said in chance remarks on Tuesday.

“The Philippines is one of the very attractive (debt issuers) on the global market. The oversubscription of previous issuances shows that,” he added.

The government’s borrowing program is set at P2.207 trillion this year, of which P553.5 billion will come from foreign sources.

This year, it is also expected to receive $19.1 billion worth of official development assistance  and $9.2 billion worth of loans from multilateral development partners and $9.8 billion in loans from bilateral lenders.

Mr. Cabiles said that the Philippines is able to manage its debt effectively.

“(Investors) are looking into the fact that debt is being well managed. Even if you are going to say there’s an uptick, they appreciate the strong commitment of the economic team to make debt manageable,” he said.

“At the end of the day, (it’s about) having the credibility and capacity to pay. It looks like we have managed to actually convince our investors, based on what we’ve been doing and how our numbers or fundamentals are, that would encourage them to make these investments,” he added.

National Government outstanding debt was at a record P13.86 trillion at the end of March, bringing the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio to 61%.

Mr. Cabiles said investors are showing interest in parts of the economy that observe environmental, social and governance  best practices as well as green industries.

Mr. Cabiles said external headwinds may yet impact investor appetite.

“There’s market volatility, geopolitical tensions, and inflation is still relatively stubborn,” he added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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