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Announcement:

Moody's says decisiveness of vote may favor Philippines fundamentals

Global Credit Research - 12 May 2010

Singapore, May 12, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service says that the apparent unambiguous victory of Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III in the Philippine presidential elections this week sets a favorable tone for the country's credit fundamentals.

"A clear-cut triumph would remove the undercurrents of political illegitimacy that had accompanied the incumbent administration of Gloria Arroyo and had hamstrung its policy agenda," says Christian de Guzman, a Moody's Assistant Vice President and Analyst.

"Indeed, the success of the first fully automated polls in Asia on Monday is at this time of greater relevance than the result itself, implying a strong mandate to govern for the victor," says de Guzman.

"Meanwhile, the outcome of the race for the vice presidency -- still unclear at this stage -- may ultimately not have as much an effect on the Philippine's credit fundamentals as the caliber of the next cabinet and economic policy team, especially the candidate for finance secretary," adds de Guzman.

But, given that Aquino's election platform of "transformational leadership" was heavy on rhetoric, but light on substance, his administration will need to quickly remove any ambiguity over its economic and fiscal policies to further shore up the government's credit fundamentals.

Moody's notes that the government still has a relative large amount of debt and also, the agency considers that the affordability of government debt remains vulnerable to interest rate, exchange rate, and confidence shocks.

Moody's currently has a stable outlook on the Philippines' sovereign rating and had said on March 29 that the prospects for the economy remain good, but there were a number of crucial challenges, such as a dearth of investment spending relative to its rating and regional peers.

Last year's upgrade of the sovereign rating was prompted by the country's strong external payments position and stability in the banking sector. These factors are expected to continue to provide support to the Philippines' rating this year and next year.

"But, looking ahead, our concerns continue to center on whether the new administration can arrest the trend slippage evident in revenue performance, and which has been exacerbated by the downturn in macroeconomic conditions during the global crisis, the stalled state of reform, and the passage of revenue-eroding measures," says de Guzman.

"And while the budget deficit projection of around 3.9% of GDP this year, according to our estimates, is not necessarily a negative development, signs that the new administration has the will and the means to get back on a path of gradual fiscal consolidation would be a positive credit development," says de Guzman.

The last rating action on Philippines was taken on 23 July 2009, when Moody's raised the Government of Philippines' ratings to Ba3 from B1 with a stable outlook.

The principal methodology used in rating the Philippines was Moody's "Sovereign Bond Ratings", published in September 2008 and available on www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

Moody's has also published a special comment titled, "Philippines Election Comment" that provides more analytical context on the ratings implication of the presidential election outcome.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information please contact New York Press Information +1-212-553-0376; EMEA Press Information in London +44-20-7772-5456; Juan Pablo Soriano in Madrid +34-91-310-1454; Alex Cataldo in Milan +39-02-914-81-100; Eric de Bodard in Paris +33-1-5330-1020; Detlef Scholz in Frankfurt +49-69-707-30-700; Mardig Haladjian in Limassol +357-25-586-586; Alex Sazhin in Moscow +7-495-228-60-60; Petr Vins in Prague +4202 2422 2929; Tokyo Press Information +813-5408-4110; Hilary Parkes in Toronto +1-416-214-1635; Hong Kong Press Information +852-2916-1150; Hector Lim in Sydney +612 9270 8102; Luiz Tess in São Paulo +5511-3043-7300; Alberto Jones Tamayo in Mexico City +5255-1253-5700; Daniel Rúas in Buenos Aires +54 11-4816-2332 ext. 105; Leon Claassen in Johannesburg +27-11-217-5470; Jehad el-Nakla in Dubai +971 4 401 9536; or visit our web site at www.moodys.com

Singapore
Christian de Guzman
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Sovereign Risk Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 2916-1150
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Singapore
Thomas J. Byrne
Senior Vice President - Regional Credit Officer
Sovereign Risk Group
Moody's Singapore Pte Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: (852) 2916-1150
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Moody's says decisiveness of vote may favor Philippines fundamentals
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