These may not be its halcyon days of 2012, but after some tapering-induced troubles last year, the iShares MSCI Philippines ETF (NYSEArca: EPHE) is back in business.
Boosted by increased government spending as a means of luring additional foreign investment and a sound debt profile, EPHE was up 17.3% over the 90 days leading up to Friday, good for the best performance among ETFs tracking Southeast Asian nations.
EPHE’s three-month return is nearly triple that of the iShares MSCI Malaysia ETF (NYSEArca: EWM), more than double that of the iShares MSCI Thailand Capped ETF (NYSEArca: THD) and ahead of the two major Indonesia ETFs. [Bullish View on Asia ETFs]
As political tensions are again weighing on THD, sending the lone Thailand ETF down more than 4% this week, EPHE is higher by 2.4% for the week. Philippine stocks are trading at their highest levels in nearly a year a day after Standard & Poor’s bestowed another sovereign credit rating upgrade on the country. [Politics Weigh on Thailand ETF]
“We raised the ratings because we now believe the ongoing reforms to address shortcomings in structural, administrative, institutional, and governance areas will endure beyond the current administration. We believe the resulting gains in government revenue generation, spending efficiency, and the improvements in public debt profile and investment environment will at least be preserved in the medium term,” Standard & Poor’s said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.
The Philippines is now rated BBB by S&P, better than the BBB- ratings sported by Brazil, India and Russia. Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and S&P each upgraded the Philippines to investment-grade status last year.