The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area of  approximately 300,000 square km. With a population of more than 92 million  people, the Philippines is the 12th most populated country in the world. An  additional 12.5 million Filipinos live and work overseas. The Philippines is also the 3rd largest English speaking country in the world, with a high literacy rate of  94.6%.

Because of its history, the Philippines is one of the most westernized countries in Asia. It was a colony of Spain for almost 350 years and then was under American rule for almost 50 years until the end of World War II. Today, the Philippines is a strong representative democracy modeled on the U.S. system. The 1987 constitution reestablished a presidential system of government with a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary.

The economy of the Philippines has an estimated 2014 GDP of $286 Billion. The country started an IMF sponsored economic liberalization program in the 1990s that has fueled sustained economic growth. Because of its open market policies, the Philippine Peso is a free-floating currency and there are no capital controls for the flow of funds internationally. A weak correlation to the US Dollar can be observed but due to its overall market strength and in line with other Asian currencies, the Peso is recently performing rather strong.

Despite the current global financial crisis, the Philippine economy managed to post a GDP growth rate of 6.1% in 2014. Moreover, the Philippines also achieved a 5.6% GDP growth rate in the second quarter of 2015. The outlook for the Philippine economy remains strongly positive. The International Monetary Fund expects GDP growth at 6.2% for 2015.

With a rapidly growing middle class, private consumption is the key driver of the Philippine economy as it represents more than 70% of GDP, a high level compared to regional peers. Private consumption is also fueled by the high level of remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Remittances amounted to $20.1 billion in 2014.

Standard & Poor’s recently raised the Philippines’ long-term foreign currency credit rating to “BBB” with stable outlook, from “BB+” with positive outlook. The foreign currency rating upgrade reflects their assessment of gradually easing fiscal vulnerability, as the government’s fiscal consolidation improves its debt profile and lowers its interest burden. The rating action also reflects the country’s strengthening external position, with remittances and an expanding service export sector continuing to drive current account surpluses.