The Philippines climbed 10 spots in the latest issue of the World Competitiveness Report prepared by the World Economic Forum (WEF), from 85th to 75th among 142 economies covered by a global poll of more than 14,000 business leaders.
"Up 10 places to 75th, the Philippines posts one of the largest improvements in this year’s rankings. The vast majority of individual indicators composing the GCI improve, sometimes markedly," said the Geneva-based WEF. "Yet the challenges are many, especially in the areas at the foundation of any competitive economy, even at an early stage of development."
The Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 4.0 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2011, with growth slowing to 3.4 percent in the second quarter from the revised 4.6 percent in the first quarter. Sluggish government spending and fragile global economic recovery weighed down on the country's economic performance in the first six months of 2011.
Fillipinos are saving and investing more this year despite the low interest rate, as banks introduced more products to attract depositors and investors who want to protect their wealth amid the global economic uncertainty. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that total deposits placed in banks in the Philippines rose 8.5 percent to P3.7 trillion as of April 2011 from P3.4 trillion year-on-year. "The continued growth in deposits reflected sustained depositor confidence in the banking system," Bangko Sentral said.
Filipino companies and consumers in June 2011 borrowed money from banks at the fastest increase in 27 months, to support investment activities and the purchase of new homes and automobiles amid the continuous expansion of the economy. Banco de Oro Unibank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Metro Bank, and other universal and commercial banks extended a total of P2.59 billion to their borrowers in June, up by 18.8 percent from P2.18 trillion a year ago.
August 2011. Five major banks in the Philippines have signed a partnership agreement with Chicago-based credit and information management firm TransUnion to establish the country's first international private credit bureau with an initial database of four million credit card users. "This is a milestone in Philippine banking. This will have a positive impact on the banking sector," said Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) president and CEO Aurelio Montinola III.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is expanding its recent circular banning the use of the so-called flat interest by banks to include financing companies, pawnshops, insurance companies and even non-stock corporations to protect the Filipino consumers from excessive charges that sometimes represent double the interest they should pay.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is keeping its investments in US treasuries amounting to more than $20 billion, while continuously diversifying its investment portfolio, even after debt watcher Standard & Poor's downgraded by a notch the credit rating of the world's largest economy.
The gross international reserves (GIR) of the Philippines jumped by US$2 billion in July 2011 alone to hit a fresh record of US$71 billion, as Bangko Sentral raised its foreign investments abroad to balance the strong foreign exchange inflows into the country. At $71 billion, these foreign exchange reserves have easily eclipsed the country's foreign debt of just US$61 billion, which makes the Philippines a net capital lender or exporter.