Fitch affirms Philippines, expects economic activity to continue to recover

Jan 11 (Reuters) – Fitch Ratings said on Monday that it affirmed Philippines’ long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating at ‘BBB’ with a stable outlook, citing modest government debt levels, “robust” external buffers and still-strong medium-term growth prospects.

However, the ratings agency said the economic impact of the COVID-19 shock for Philippines in 2020 was more significant than previously expected due to a high domestic infection rate and government policy measures to curb the virus spread.

With total confirmed COVID-19 infections of 487,690 and deaths reaching 9,405, the Philippines has the second-highest number of cases and fatalities in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.

Fitch said it expected the country’s economic activity to continue to recover in the coming quarters, and projected GDP to expand by 6.9% and 8.0% in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The presidential election in 2022 creates some uncertainty about economic policies beyond the vote, Fitch said, adding it expected the medium-term fiscal framework to remain intact.

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