By CHINO S. LEYCO
The Duterte administration is preparing its second borrowing in the euro debt market as the Bureau of the Treasury sees strong demand for the Philippine instruments.
Already, the S&P Global Ratings assigned its ‘BBB+’ long-term foreign currency issue rating to the Philippines’ proposed benchmark-size euro-denominated senior unsecured notes. S&P said the notes represent direct, general, unconditional, unsecured, and unsubordinated obligations of the sovereign, and rank equally with the country’s other unsecured and unsubordinated debt obligations.
Fitch Ratings, meanwhile, assigned the Philippines’ bonds an expected rating of “BBB(EXP).”
National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said the government tapped four banks for a possible benchmark euro-denominated bond sale, the country’s first international debt offering of the year.
“We started the investor calls for today [Monday] so we still have to see the market conditions but we have already done the indication in terms of tenor both for three years and nine years,” De Leon told reporters.
“We have also done an assessment in terms of appetite. Obviously, we’ve been opening markets every year with dollar but this time we would want to approach
European investors coming from a very strong order book last year,” she added.
The government has mandated Citigroup, Inc., Credit Suisse Group, Inc., Standard Chartered Plc and UBS Group AG to arrange investor calls.
In May last year, the Philippines returned to the euro debt market and sold 750 million in eight-year global bonds at a coupon of 0.875 percent.
The Philippines traditionally taps the global debt market early in the year, and is mulling a deal at a time of huge issuance globally and an eventful start to 2020.
A net oil importer, the Philippines saw global crude prices rise recently amid tensions in the Middle East. A volcano 40 miles south of the capital has been erupting since last week, causing damage to property and livelihood in neighboring towns.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno earlier said the national government has secured the central bank’s approval to raise as much as $3.7 billion from external commercial sources this year.
The Philippines has been diversifying its funding sources to support a $170-billion infrastructure spending program through 2022.
In 2019, it became the first emerging-market sovereign to tap the global market for that year with $1.5-billion sale of 10-year bonds. This was followed by fresh borrowings denominated in the euro, Chinese yuan and Japanese yen.
“The expected rating is in line with the Philippines’ Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of ‘BBB’ with a Stable Outlook,” Fitch said. (With Bloomberg)