Philippines jumps 8 notches in economic freedom index


Posted at Jan 14 2014 12:46 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2014 08:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines jumped 8 spots to 89th in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the country's 89th ranking reflects "significant improvements" it has made in seven of the 10 economic freedoms, such as investment freedom, business freedom, monetary freedom, and the control of government spending. The Philippines ranked 97th in the 2013 index.

Overall, the world average score of 60.3 is the highest average in the index's two-decade history. There were 43 countries, including Singapore and Sweden, that notched their highest scores in this year's index.

The Heritage Foundation cited the Philippine economy's "high degree of resilience," as it was one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia last year. Also cited were legislative reforms that were undertaken to "enhance the investment environment and incentivize broader-based private-sector job growth."

However, the data used for the 2014 index were based mostly on 2012 statistics.

"We believe that there have been significant improvements since then, despite the challenges we had to overcome as one nation. The positive results of this evaluation only strengthen our administration’s resolve to continue implementing reforms founded on good governance and true public service, which are necessary prerequisites to fostering lasting and inclusive growth in the Philippines," he said.

Topping the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom was Hong Kong, followed by Singapore. Singapore has managed to close the gap with Hong Kong to only 0.7 points, the second narrowest difference in index history.

On the other hand, North Korea was the "least economically unfree" country on the index.

The United States failed to make it to the top 10, with the score falling to 12th slot as it registered declines in fiscal freedom, business freedom and property rights.

Top 10 Most Free
1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Australia
4. Switzerland
5. New Zealand
6. Canada
7. Chile
8. Mauritius
9. Ireland
10. Denmark
Ten Least Free

178. North Korea
177. Cuba
176. Zimbabwe
175. Venezuela
174. Eritrea
173. Iran
172. D.R. of Congo
171. Turkmenistan
170. Timor-Leste
169. Rep. of Congo

Launched in 1995, the Index of Economic Freedom evaluates countries in 4 broad areas of economic freedom: rule of law; regulatory efficiency; limited government; and open markets.