Despite the fact that the Philippines were once the wealthiest country in Asia, after Japan, it has slowly become one of the poorest in the region since it gained independence in 1946. The economy further declined in the early 1980s on account of the reduced demand for Philippine products, the United States' pullout, and an increased rate of corruption. A projected 10% of the GNP was lost to corruption and capitalism during this period. The economic recovery since then has been noteworthy but slow in comparison to other East Asian nations. According to the GDP per capita, the Philippines at present ranks 118th out of 178 states.
The financial system of the Philippines particularly had trouble during the Asian monetary emergency of 1998. Increasing prices, inflation, and poor weather aggravated these poor economic conditions. Economic development fell from 5% in 1997 to 0.6% in 1998; however, it improved to about 3% in 1999 and 4% in 2000, and by 2004 it rose to above 6% per year. Budgetary provisions for servicing debt in the Philippines were higher than the budget for education and defence together.
Income disparity also remains a grave problem in the country. The Philippines continues to be a largely agricultural country; however, light industry and services have made noteworthy contributions. In the past few years, there have been noticeable developments in the Philippines as the number of business process outsourcing (BPO) industries has increased. With the introduction of the BPO industries, there have been considerable boosts in the rate of employment. This has given rise to various job opportunities for the Filipinos. There are approximately 500 companies in the Philippines that have improved the quality of service by providing jobs. The Philippines is among the many countries that house the leading BPO industries.
The Philippines is among the countries associated with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank. In the year 2005, the peso was known as Asia's best performing currency.