Philippine Bonds Could Be a Buy
By Saghir Aslam
Rawalpindi, Pakistan

 

( The following information is provided solely to educate the Muslim community about investing and financial planning. It is hoped that the Ummah will benefit from this effort through greater financial empowerment, enabling the community to live with dignity and fulfill their moral obligations towards charitable activities)

Philippine bonds are outpacing Asian peers as the nation’s central bank considers cutting lenders’ reserve ratios for the first time in four years, a move that investors estimate would inject at least $1.5 billion into the financial system.

Government bonds are poised for the strongest two-month rally since 2013, Bloomberg bond indexes show, spurred by July 13 comments from BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas Governor AmandoTetangco that he may reduce the amount of cash banks must set aside. He said the rate cut announced in May was policy neutral and implemented as part of a shift to an interest-rate corridor system to make policy more effective.

A reduction in the reserves would be in line with the easing bias seen in the region as central banks act to counter a slowdown in global demand and the fallout from Britain’s shock vote to exit the European Union last month. When news hit Britain getting out of the union, next day markets around the world were hit hard including American Stock Market. Some countries took the steepest loss, soon after American Market turned around. China, India,   Indonesia   and South Korea have all lowered rates in the past year.  

“Fundamentals remain attractive and the new government’s economic policies remain supportive of growth,” said Bertram Sarmago, a Singapore-based Asian fixed-income investment director at Nikko Asset Management Co., which was overseeing $164 billion as of March. “Flush liquidity in the domestic system and the perceived easing with the change in the monetary policy framework are driving gains in Philippine bonds.”

Nikko Asset projects a one percentage point cut in reserves would add about 85 billion pesos ($1.8 billion) to the financial system and boost bonds in the short term. AllianceBernstein LP estimates it would inject about 70 billion pesos.

Governor Tetangco is seeking to strike a balance in monetary policy after announcing new auctions of short-term securities in May to absorb some of the excess liquidity that’s driven yields to near record lows. Deputy Governor DiwaGuinigundo said last week that any reduction in reserves will be gradual.

The yield on the 10-year note plunged 1.25 percentage points last week, the most since 2008, according to fixing prices from Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp.

President Rodrigo Duterte pledged in his first state of the nation  speech  on Monday to improve on the economic policies of his predecessor, including lowering taxes and easing restrictions on foreign investment. The Philippine stock index has gained 3.5 percent in July, poised for its third straight monthly gain, the longest rally in more than a year.

 

Spreads Shrink

The 3.30 percent yield on the nation’s 10-year bond is approaching the unprecedented 2.75 percent seen in May 2013, prompting AllianceBernstein to be cautious about how much further the rally can go. The premium on Philippine debt over U.S. Treasuries has halved in the past three months to 25 basis points, near the smallest gap since 2013, Bloomberg’s index shows.

“The level now is close to the trough in 2013 and we expect most of the rally is already done. Lower bond yields are mainly liquidity, rather than fundamentals-driven, and it would be hard to call for the bottom of the current rally.”

A Bloomberg index of peso sovereign debt returned 5 percent in the past three months, more than the 4.6 percent in Indonesia and 2.3 percent in Malaysia. The gauge is headed for an eighth monthly gain.

“The 10-year government bond yield is likely to stay near current levels -- it might go up 10 or 20 basis points but it’s just a fluctuation and not really reversing the trend. “The market as a whole still doesn’t see significant pressure for rates to go up, both in the US and locally.”

((Saghir A. Aslam only explains strategies and formulas that he has been using. He is merely providing information, and NO ADVICE is given. Mr Aslam does not endorse or recommend any broker, brokerage firm, or any investment at all, nor does he suggest that anyone will earn a profit when or if they purchase stocks, bonds or any other investments. All stocks or investment vehicles mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. Mr Aslam is not an attorney, accountant, real estate broker, stockbroker, investment advisor, or certified financial planner. Mr Aslam does not have anything for sale.)

 

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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