UPDATE 1-Moody's puts Philippine ratings on review for upgrade
* Philippines has already won 2 investment-grade ratings
* Moody's says econ performance exceeds its expectations
* C.bank official: Belated recognition of Manila's efforts
MANILA, July 25 (Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service placed its rating on the Philippines on review for an upgrade on Thursday, raising the possibility the country could soon win its third investment grade rating.
"The Philippines' economic performance has exceeded Moody's expectations, supporting the view that the economy will grow significantly faster than similarly rated peers over at least the next two to three years," Moody's said in a statement.
The agency also said that while the Philippines has achieved one of Asia's highest growth rates in the past year, "there have been no strong signs of overheating or a buildup in macroeconomic imbalances."
This year, the Philippines has won investment-grade ratings from two agencies. Fitch Ratings delivered the first, in March, and that was followed five weeks later by Standard & Poor's.
Moody's currently rates the Philippines Ba1, and a one notch upgrade would bring it to Baa3.
Philippine officials welcomed Moody's decision, describing it as vote of confidence in the Southeast Asian economy and a boost to the country's efforts to attract investors.
"The status of review for upgrade should be seen as a recognition of the positive changes in the Philippine economy brought on by the Aquino administration's commitment to good governance," Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told reporters in a mobile text message.
Central bank Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said: "It is a belated recognition of the Philippines' strong efforts at self transformation."
The Philippines eclipsed China as the fastest growing nation in Asia after it posted a surprisingly strong annual growth of 7.8 percent in the first quarter. Economists believe the country can sustain its strong momentum on the back of solid domestic consumption and higher government spending.
On Thursday, the Philippine central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low, saying the domestic economy remains strong despite subdued global prospects and possible external shocks.
(Editing by Richard Borsuk)