Christmas has come a few months early for families in the Philippines getting remittances from relatives living and working overseas.

Money sent home rose 7.4 per cent to $2.1bn in August from the same period a year ago, according to data released by the central bank on Wednesday. Last year, remittances reached that amount only in December, when transfers hit their annual peak because of holiday spending. Read more

Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday lifted the Philippines’ credit score one notch from Ba1 to Baa3, becoming the third international credit rating agency to give the southeast Asian country an investment-grade rating. It said the Philippines’ ratings outlook is positive, making another upgrade possible in the next year and a half. Read more

Philippine electronics exports, which account for almost half the country’s overseas sales, surged by a surprising 11.2 per cent from a year ago in July to $1.9bn, in what could be the start of a rebound from a plunge of almost a fifth in the first half of the year. Read more

In another sign that the benefits of faster economic growth in the Philippines have yet to trickle down, the country’s jobless rate in April rose to 7.5 per cent, the highest in almost four years, the government statistics office said Tuesday.

That is roughly in the same quarter that GDP surged 7.8 per cent, the highest in more than two years. Asia’s fastest growing economy also has one of the region’s biggest unemployment problems. Read more

Just a day or two after mid-term elections that tightened Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s hold on Congress, his economic managers unveiled a package of potentially contentious proposals to raise mining taxes that will test the president’s grip on the law-making body when it convenes in July. Read more

It may look like a belated internal housekeeping job, coming long after rivals did the same thing. But the Philippine SM Group’s announcement on Friday that it will combine its various real estate businesses with its shopping mall operations under one company is making a big splash.

Stock exchange trading for the group’s four publicly-listed vehicles was suspended to make way for the announcement of the creation of the country’s largest property company. Read more

The Philippine economy grew 7.8 per cent in the first quarter from a revised 6.8 per cent the previous quarter, beating analysts’ expectations of an increase of just 6 per cent, as sharply higher investments and government spending offset the impact of faltering demand from China, America and Europe that slowed economies elsewhere in the region. Read more

Elections in the Philippines are said to be decided by three Gs: guns, gold and goons. In a few cases, luck must be added into the equation.

When two candidates for mayor of San Teodoro, a small town in central Philippines, each got exactly the same number of votes (3,236) in a poll this week, election officials decided to break the tie by tossing a coin. Read more

Millions of Filipinos headed for voting booths on Monday to choose candidates for 18,054 local and national government posts in a generally peaceful election that polling groups and analysts say will likely tighten president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s grip on the legislature.

Aides to Aquino (pictured) say having allies and supporters in both houses of Congress is critical for a continuation of the president’s anti-corruption and anti-poverty reforms as he enters the second half of his single six-year term that ends in the middle of 2016. Read more

Like many management buzz words, corporate social responsibility has come to mean many things to many people. But if a bit of business do-gooding is required by the authorities as a condition, say, for granting a local government permit, is it still CSR? Read more

Investors do love an emerging market success story.

A day after LT Group, the listed holding company of Lucio Tan, the Philippines’ second richest man, raised 37.7bn pesos ($920m) from a follow-on offering, its shares have risen 4 per cent. Read more

As a seasoning, salt goes well with rice. In many developing countries, poor families who cannot afford any dish at all sometimes eat boiled rice with nothing but a pinch of salt.

But salt in the soil where rice is grown ruins the crop, a problem that is worsening in Asia. Can anything be done? Read more

Philippine exports in February fell 15.6 per cent from a year earlier to their lowest level in 14 months, after falling 2.7 per cent the previous month as demand for the country’s main shipments of semiconductor chips and electronics devices has slumped.

The sharp fall in exports suggests the Philippines will struggle to meet the government’s GDP growth target of 6 to 7 per cent for 2013 after last year’s robust expansion of 6.6 per cent, the highest among south-east Asia’s five biggest economies. Read more

Just a week after Fitch upgraded the Philippines investment grade, it is becoming apparent why the much sought-after ratings move is not likely to boost foreign direct investments into the country any time soon.

On Wednesday, the Department of Energy warned it may cancel the exploration contract of a consortium led by BHP Billiton Petroleum for an oil and gas block off Palawan island in the western Philippines due to delays in drilling an offshore exploration well. It’s hardly a move to reassure investors. Read more

San Miguel Corp, the increasingly diversified Philippine conglomerate, surprised on the upside on Thursday by announcing consolidated net income in 2012 of 27.6bn pesos ($677m), up 57 per cent on 2011 and exceeding analysts’ expectations.

It is easy to take the figure as another sign of the success of San Miguel’s daring diversification strategy, in which the 122 year old company has expanded rapidly from its core food and drinks business to take in fuel, power and infrastructure. Read more

Clashes between Malaysian security forces and the followers of a Philippine Muslim royal family leader trying to reclaim Sabah have been confined so far to two remote districts in North Borneo but the economic side effects of the conflict are already evident in the Philippines’ southernmost province, Tawi-Tawi. Read more

Minority shareholders of the Philippines’ San Miguel Corp’s property unit are probably sore after the company, which is to be delisted in May, offered to redeem outstanding shares at just 134 pesos each– barely a fifth of the last traded price of 700 pesos per share. While delisting was expected, the low redemption price was not. Read more

Belle Grande, the $1bn Manila casino resort to be managed by Melco Crown Entertainment, won’t open its doors until near the end of the year. But the Macau gaming company is already poised to make big gains from a newly acquired, listed vehicle for its Philippine casino. Read more

There is no rest for Philippine taxmen even on St Valentine’s Day. While others were buying flowers for loved ones or taking them out on a date, officials at the Bureau of Internal Revenue spent February 14 filing criminal complaints against the owners of two famous flower shops in Manila for failing to issue proper receipts. Read more

The Philippines appears to be on a trajectory of rapid growth, bolstered by expectations it will finally get an investment-grade credit rating this year and attract more foreign investments. But investors already doing business in the country worry that the economy’s new-found vigor could be dissipated by sluggish decision-making in government. Read more