Philippines: Country fact sheet

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Economist Intelligence Unit
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Summary, Economy, Background, Fact sheet
Political Geography

Fact sheet

Annual data 2020a Historical averages (%) 2016-20
Population (m) 109.6b Population growth 1.4
GDP (US$ bn; market exchange rate) 361.2 Real GDP growth 3.2
GDP (US$ bn; purchasing power parity) 920.5 Real domestic demand growth 3.4
GDP per head (US$; market exchange rate) 3,296.3 Inflation 3.0
GDP per head (US$; purchasing power parity) 8,399.9 Current-account balance (% of GDP) -0.2
Exchange rate (av) P:US$ 49.6 FDI inflows (% of GDP) 2.5
a Actual. b Economist Intelligence Unit estimates.

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Background: The Philippine islands were ruled by Spain from 1565 to 1898, when the US took control. The islands became independent in 1946. The 21-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos (1965-86) was characterised by economic mismanagement and martial law. A democratic system was re-established under Corazon Aquino (1986-92) and maintained under Fidel Ramos (1992-98) and Joseph Estrada (1998-2001). In 2001 Mr Estrada was removed in a military-backed civilian coup and replaced by his vice-president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who won the presidential election in 2004. Mrs Aquino's son, Benigno Aquino, won the 2010 presidential poll and stepped down in June 2016, after serving his constitutionally mandated single six-year term. The country held its 16th presidential election in May 2016 and inaugurated its new president, Rodrigo Duterte, who was formerly the mayor of Davao City, in June 2016.

Political structure: There is a presidential system of government, with the president being limited to a single six-year term. Congress (the legislature) is modelled on the US system and comprises two directly elected bodies, the Senate (the upper house), normally with 24 members, and the House of Representatives (the lower house), with 304 members at present.

Policy issues: Previous policy priorities have faded into the background as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to absorb government attention and resources. Mr Duterte's ambitious infrastructure plan will resume partly in the second half of 2021 and carry on in 2022, funded in large part by development aid amid the pandemic. Job creation is another major policy challenge in the wake of the pandemic, as unemployment soars, along with a touted shift in industrial policy that has not materialised.

Taxation: The corporate income tax rate stands at 30%, but is expected to fall to 20% by 2027 as part of Mr Duterte's tax reform. Personal income tax rates are structured into five bands, ranging from 5% to 32% of taxable income. Tax-exemption levels for individuals end at P250,000 (about US$4,700).

Foreign trade: The merchandise trade deficit (on a balance-of-payments basis) narrowed to US$31.8bn in 2020, from US$49.3bn in 2019. Exports totalled US$47.4bn in 2020, and imports stood at US$79.3bn. The sharp fall in goods imports allowed the economy to record a rare current-account surplus of US$13bn, from a deficit of US$3.4bn in 2019.

Major exports 2020 % of total Major imports 2020 % of total
Electronics 56.9 Raw materials & intermediate goods 37.6
Mineral products 7.7 Capital goods 27.5
Agricultural products 5.5 Consumer goods 16.5
Machinery & transport equipment 4.6 Mineral fuels, lubricants & related products 12.1
Leading markets 2020 % of total Leading suppliers 2020 % of total
US 17.1 China 34.1
China 16.1 US 17.0
Japan 15.3 Japan 14.8
Hong Kong 14.9 South Korea 9.9

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