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RP garners ‘stable’ rating from Moody’s

Tuesday, 13 October 2015 00:00 Published in Business

Moody’s Investors Service highlighted the Philippines’ rare kind of economic resilience against a challenging global environment despite giving the country the second lowest minimum investment grade of Baa2.
The credit opinion by Moody’s nevertheless signals that the Philippines’s investment-grade sovereign credit rating is well secured.
The country’s credit rating with Moody’s is at Baa2, which is a notch above the minimum investment grade.
The rating is assigned a “stable” outlook, which means it is unlikely to change over the short term.
In its latest report on the Philippines, the debt watcher cited a host of factors that place the country well ahead of other emerging markets in terms of managing external adversities.
Among these factors are strong domestic consumption, healthy external payments position, stable banking sector, rising contribution of private-sector investments to growth, increasing per capita income, benign inflation, and declining debt burden.
“The Philippines’ Baa2 government bond rating reflects the economy’s resilience to the current headwinds buffeting neighboring countries and emerging markets as a whole,” Moody’s said in the report released very recently.
It expects the Philippines, compared with other emerging markets, to remain less affected by external shocks, such as market volatility arising from the pending tightening of US monetary policy, weak global demand and slowdown of China and other major economies.
“The Philippines’ susceptibility to event risk is low, reflecting a robust external payments position, strong local demand that insulates funding conditions for the government from external financial shocks, and a banking system that poses limited contingent risks to the government,” Moody’s added.
The country is keen on keeping its credit rating within the investment- grade category given its benefits to the general economy and to ordinary citizens.
A credit rating within the “investment-grade” territory (in contrast with ratings within the speculative category) signals adequate ability and willingness of a government to pay liabilities as they fall due. Such a rating helps reduce interest rates on borrowings not only of the State but also of private enterprises and individuals.
Also, an investment-grade sovereign credit rating may help attract job-generating investments. This is because most of the indicators used by credit-rating agencies in assessing creditworthiness of a country are the same indicators of economic strength that are important to investors.
In zeroing in on the country’s banking sector, Moody’s noted its ability to cushion external headwinds.
“The banking system is virtually immune to contagion from external shocks. It is largely deposit funded — aided in part by steady flow of remittances — and exhibits a lack of dependence on external funding and low exposure to the export sector,” it said.
Moreover, Moody’s also highlighted the growing confidence of the private sector, which is reflected in rising investments and which help boost incomes of Filipinos.
Ed Velasco
“Our methodological assessment of the Philippines’ economic strength has improved to ‘High’ from ‘High (–)‘ due to a rise in per capita income that has been sustained on account of the robustness of economic growth,” Moody’s said.


Young people, including students taking up business courses, should seriously consider career and livelihood opportunities in agribusiness which is one of the most robust but generally overlooked industries in the Philippines, the top executive of a leading agribusiness conglomerate said.
Ricardo Alba, president and COO of Univet Nutrition and Animal Healthcare Company or UNAHCO, said there are huge business and career potentials in animal production (swine, poultry, goat, aqua), agriculture (vegetables, fruits, grains farming), food processing, distribution, dealership and retail of feed and veterinary products, among others.
“Agribusiness is the industry that feeds our people, all 100 million of us,” Alba said. “And there is no way for agriculture-related businesses to go but up as food consumption increases, so I urge our students and our young people to seriously consider careers and business opportunities in agriculture,” he added.
Alba invited heads of the country’s top colleges and universities to send their students to the Agrilink, Foodlink, and Aqualink 2015, the biggest and most well-attended agribusiness exhibition in the Philippines which will be held this Oct. 15 to 17 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
“Your students will surely gain new perspectives about this dynamic and growing industry and hopefully, open doors for them to a bright, fulfilling and exciting world that provides food on the table for more than 100 million Filipinos three times a day, 365 days a year,” he said in his letter to the business schools.
He said marketing students in particular will learn a lot of things by attending Agrilink because they will see first-hand how agribusiness companies in the Philippines market their products and services. The three-day exhibit is open to the public for free.
Aside from the exhibit, students and exhibit visitors can attend various seminars to be conducted by industry experts from the Philippines and abroad during the three-day event. They are also free and open to the public.
One of the seminar topics include “Maximizing Productivity and Efficiency of the Modern Sow” to be conducted by Dr. Kathryn Price, a swine nutritionist connected with Akey. It is sponsored by UNAHCO and will be held at Function Room 2 of the World Trade Center on Oct. 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
On Oct. 16 at Function Room 1, two seminars will be sponsored by Sarimanok Poultry. These are “Sustainable Duck Farming” by Dr. Erwin Joseph Cruz (10:30 to 11:30 a.m.), followed by “Productive Layer Farming” by Dr. Xabier Arbe Ugalde of Novus from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
UNAHCO has been a major sponsor of Agrilink for the past 17 years through its business units such as Univet, Pigrolac Hog Feeds, Sarimanok Poultry, UNAHCO Commercial Farm Group (CFG), and UNAGRO (Univet Agronomy).
This year, Yum Yum, UNAHCO’s newly-launched dog food brand in the market, will also be part of the exhibition.
Yum Yum will have a Dog Café on Oct. 17, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the World Trade Center lobby where dog lovers will get the chance to meet and interact with different dog breeds.
Another reason for UNAHCO’s bullish participation in industry events like Agrilink is the company’s 50th year founding anniversary in 2016.
“We have been serving the Filipino animal raisers for almost 50 years now and we are truly grateful to our loyal customers and partners for their continuing trust, patronage and support,” Alba said. “One way of thanking them is through our promotion of livelihood opportunities in agribusiness, and Agrilink is a perfect venue for this.”
He said UNAHCO believes in the mission of FRLD (Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development), organizer of Agrilink, to bring together all agricultural, animal, and food industry stakeholders under one roof to update them on the latest trends and innovations in terms of product and technology and to establish linkages and network among stakeholders.
Through knowledge and technology transfer, Agrilink has contributed much to the growth of the agriculture, animal, and food industries which in turn provide employment and livelihood opportunities to millions of Filipino farmers, Alba said.
Agrilink also actively supports the Department of Agriculture’s program to promote food safety and security for the growing Filipino population.

After the husbands, now it’s their wives’ turn, as Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos’ wife Carmelita “Menchie” is looking to take over from her husband as local chief executive, while Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II’s wife Queenie plans to take over the congressional seat of her husband.

Menchie Abalos vowed to continue the programs that were initiated by her husband, as she filed her certificate of candidacy (CoC) for mayor.
Her husband, incumbent Mayor Benhur, occupied the post for two decades.
Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II and wife Queenie joined Menchie as she filed her CoC at the city’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) office.
Queenie is also running in next year’s elections as Mandaluyong’s lone representative.
She is set to take over the post from her husband, who is also not eligible for re-election after serving three consecutive terms.
Queenie and Menchie vowed that should they be elected, their governance would be a “motherly” one.
Also joining Menchie in her CoC filing were her city council slate, which filed their respective candidacies. Among the city councilors up for reelection was the Abalos couple’s daughter Charisse.
Former Comelec Commissioner Benjamin Abalos also showed up to show his support to his daughter in law and granddaughter.
In Valenzuela City, Mayor Rex Gatchalian and his team were the first to troop to the local Comelec office yesterday to file their respective CoC, formalizing the former’s re-election bid for a second term.
Accompanied by his running mate, three-termer and outgoing Councilor Lorie Natividad-Borja, who also filed her CoC and brothers Win Gatchalian, also a senatorial aspirant, and Alay-buhay partylist Rep. Wes Gatchalian, who is gunning the city’s 1st congressional district post, the mayor was the very first to file his CoC before the local poll office located beside the old city hall building in Barangay Malinta.
The city chief executive, a former lawmaker before he was elected mayor in 2013, is seeking for re-election under the Nationalist People’s Coalition ticket in his desire to continue the implementation of projects that focus on health and education, peace and order and infrastructures including the opening of the world-class Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela campus.
“We have more vital programs and projects my administration is determined to carry out for the next three years if given new mandate by the local electorate that can take pride of the city’s continued progress and development,” Gatchalian told the Camanava Press Corps.
With the Gatchalian-Lorie team are aspirants for city council seats include Councilors Marlon Alejandrino, Tony Espiritu, Jenny Esplana, Rovin Feliciano, Ramon Encarnacion, all re-electionists, and newcomer Riccar Enriquez for 1st District while for District 2 are re-electionist Councilors, Kim Galang, Charee Pineda, Lai Nolasco and Tyson Sy and newcomers Nina Lopez and Sel Sabino.

By Jason Faustino 
and Arlie O. Calalo


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