MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines plans to issue $1 billion in sovereign bonds to help finance next year’s record budget, National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said yesterday.
Borrowing from both domestic and foreign sources was expected to reach a total 888 billion pesos ($17.45 billion) next year, documents from the Bureau of Treasury showed, an increase of 22 percent from this year.
Manila raised $500 million from a new 25-year US dollar bond offering in January, which was the tightest-priced long-dated global bond issued by the Philippines – one of Asia’s most active sovereign bond issuers.
The Philippines’ improved fiscal position and debt management programmes have impressed global credit rating agencies. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s both rate the country two notches above investment grade. The government also plans to fund the increase in next year’s spending plan via $2.45 billion of project and programme loans, the documents showed.
President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Congress to approve his proposed 3.77 trillion peso budget for next year, a 12.4 percent increase on this year’s 3.35 trillion peso budget, as he aims to spend heavily on infrastructure to keep growth robust.
His government is pinning its growth targets on infrastructure projects to create jobs, stimulate the economy and attract foreign investors who have been put off by high power prices and transport bottlenecks that eat into profits.
Mr Duterte’s 2018 budget assumes a deficit of 523.6 billion pesos, or 3.0 percent of gross domestic product.
The firebrand leader has asked lawmakers to prioritise a tax reform bill, which seeks to tax sugar-sweetened drinks and raise excise taxes on fuel among other things, to ensure he can fund new airports, ports, roads and railways.
Infrastructure spending is expected to rise to 7.4 percent of GDP by 2022 from 5.4 percent of GDP this year. The Philippines received a record $7.93 billion in net foreign direct investment last year.