The Philippines leapfrogged to 61st place from 77th in the annual rankings on economic freedom around the world.
The country’s score also jumped to 7.12 from 6.84, said the Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 annual report.
Out of 144 countries and territories surveyed for the report released by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think tank, Hong Kong topped the field with a score of 8.9 out of 10.
Economic freedom is measured in five different areas: size of government (big government reduces the space for free exchange), legal system and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation of credit, labor, and business.
Fred McMahon, vice-president international research of the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, said the Philippines’ big improvement came in sound money, particularly allowing people to own foreign currency bank accounts.
There were also relatively small improvements in two other variables in this area: money growth and inflation variability.
“The Philippines also saw an increased score in size of government, in other words, government got slightly less intrusive in the economy,” he said.
“Overall, these factors led to an increase in the Philippines’ score from 6.84 to 7.12 out of 10. Because nations are tightly packed around these scores, this led to a move up in the ranks from 77 to 61,” he added.
The rankings in this year’s report are based on 2010 data, the most recent year for which comprehensive figures are available.
The other top 10 nations listed in descending order after Hong Kong with their scores in brackets were: Singapore (8.69), New Zealand (8.36), Switzerland (8.24), Australia (7.97), Canada (7.97), Bahrain (7.94), Mauritius (7.90), Finland (7.88) and Chile (7.84).
Rankings (and scores) of other large economies in this year’s index included: United Kingdom, 12th (7.75); United States, 18th (7.69); Japan, 20th (7.64); Germany, 31st (7.52); Russia, 95th (6.56); China, 107th (6.35); and India, 111th (6.26).
Venezuela was in last place with a score of 4.07 among the countries surveyed.
Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Republic of the Congo and Angola rounded out the bottom five nations.
Singapore was the best performer among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries in the world rankings in 2nd place, followed by the Philippines (61st), Malaysia (71st), Indonesia (76th), Thailand (87th) and Vietnam (96th).
Following were the economic freedom scores and world rankings in brackets for the Philippines: Size of government 8.31 (9), Legal system and property rights 4.37 (110), Sound money 9.29 (39), Freedom to trade internationally 6.69 (97), and Regulation 6.92 (74).
(Story courtesy of Jose Katigbak STAR Washington Bureau)