Agriculture: sugarcane, coconuts, rice, corn, bananas, cassavas, pineapples, mangoes; pork, eggs, beef; fish
Industries: electronics assembly, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, petroleum refining, fishing
Exports: semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, fruits
Imports: electronic products, mineral fuels, machinery and transport equipment, iron and steel, textile fabrics, grains, chemicals, plastic
Currency: Philippine peso (PHP)
Exchange rates: Philippine pesos per US dollar - 51.246 (2006)
Overview: The Philippines was less severely affected by the Asian financial crisis of 1998 than its neighbors, aided in part by its high level of annual remittances from overseas workers, no sustained runup in asset prices, and more moderate debt, prior to the crisis.
The Philippines faces higher oil prices, higher interest rates on its dollar borrowings, and higher inflation. Fiscal constraints limit Manila's ability to finance infrastructure and social spending. The Philippines' consistently large budget deficit has produced a high debt level, and this situation has forced Manila to spend a large portion of the national government budget on debt service. Large unprofitable public enterprises, especially in the energy sector, contribute to the government's debt because of slow progress on privatization. Credit rating agencies have at times expressed concern about the Philippines' ability to service the debt, though central bank reserves appear adequate and large remittance inflows appear stable.
The implementation of the expanded Value Added Tax (VAT) in November 2005 boosted confidence in the government's fiscal capacity and helped to strengthen the peso, making it East Asia's best performing currency in 2005-06. Investors and credit rating institutions will continue to look for effective implementation of the new VAT and continued improvement in the government's overall fiscal capacity in the coming year.
Source: World Factbook, updated August 2007