Debt watcher Moody’s Investors Service expects the Philippines to sustain robust economic growth this year as credit conditions in the country and across the region are expected to remain stable.

“Among the five largest Asean emerging economies, we expect the Philippines and Vietnam to post the strongest growth (in 2018), supported by trade and domestic demand,” Moody’s said in a report yesterday.

In October, Moody’s projected the Philippine economy to expand by 6.8 percent in 2018.

In 2017, the Philippines’ gross domestic product grew 6.7 percent, outpaced only by those of China and Vietnam in emerging Asia.

This year, the government targets a 7-8 percent growth.

Across the region, Moody’s said it expected “broad-based” growth this year.

“China’s growth will slow, but only mildly, in line with authorities’ desire for higher-quality growth; positive momentum will continue in Japan and recover in India,” it said.

“Growth momentum in advanced economies and intraregional activity will continue to drive trade in Asia,” it added.

“We do not expect new US tax laws to drive more aggressive monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve, nor do we expect the US dollar to strengthen significantly, leaving Asian central banks room to maintain accommodative monetary policy,” it said.

Moody’s said “credit conditions in Asia will be stable in 2018, shaped by broad-based economic growth in the region and globally, a supportive trade environment and broadly accommodative monetary policy.”

“We expect creditworthiness to remain healthy across our rated portfolio in 2018. This is reflected in our outlooks for the region’s sovereigns, banking systems and corporate sectors,” according to Moody’s.

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