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In 2012 the Philippine economy remained resilient, as seen in robust macroeconomic fundamentals, despite external threats from a growing recession in the United States and the European region.

During the 3rd quarter of 2012, the Philippines posted a high 7.1% growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making the country the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia. The GDP is a computation of the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country during a certain period, and is a measure of overall economic activity.

As for the stock market, the performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) in 2012 landed the country a spot in the Top 10 Best Performing Stock Markets worldwide, growing 32.95% from January to December 2012.

It’s rosy news once more when it comes to the performance of the Philippine Peso last year. The country’s currency is the best performing currency in Southeast Asia, rising more than 6.5% versus the US Dollar.

In the whole of Asia, the Philippine Peso ranks second to the South Korean Won in terms of appreciation, with the latter rising by 8.0% last year.

On the last trading of 2012, the Philippine Peso closed at P41.05 to the US dollar. During the first trading day in January 2, 2013, the Peso again appreciated and closed at P40.86 against the greenback.

Analysts expect the Philippine Peso to reach the P39.00 level in 2013.

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The Peso appreciation is due mainly to growing remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and the influx of investments from investors moving out of countries with recession and credit rating downgrades.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank) forecasts OFW remittances to reach P21.11 billion in 2012, a 5% increase from last year’s total remittances of P20.1 billion. The same 5% growth in remittances is expected in 2013, further fueling an appreciation of the Peso versus the dollar.

A summary of the year-on-year performance of various Asian currencies against the US Dollar is shown below.

2012 Asian Currencies vs. US Dollar

 CurrencySymbolJan. 3, 2013 USD Exchange RateYear-on-Year Appreciation (Depreciation)
1Korean WonKRW1,063.307.97%
2Philippine PesoPHP40.866.50%
3Singapore DollarSGD1.22056.12%
4Brunei DollarBND1.22155.79%
5Thai BahtTHB30.3154.49%
6Malaysian RinggitMYR3.03554.24%
7Taiwan DollarTWD29.044.00%
8Chinese Yuan RenminbiCNY6.2351.19%
9Vietnamese DongVND208200.86%
10Hong Kong DollarHKD7.75080.25%
11Australian DollarAUD1.0382-1.27%
12Indian RupeeINR54.36-2.57%
13New Zealand DollarNZD0.825-5.76%
14Pakistan RupeePKR97.42-8.61%
15Indonesian RupiahIDR9,650.00-8.98%
16Japanese YenJPY87.347-12.47%

The Top 10 best performing currencies around the world is as follows.

2012 Top 10 World Currencies

 CurrencySymbolJan. 3, 2013 USD Exchange RateYear-on-Year Appreciation
1Polish ZlotyPLN3.08389.30%
2Mexican PesoMXN12.74378.97%
3Colombian PesoCOP1,772.008.57%
4Chilean PesoCLP474.958.55%
5South Korean WonKRW1,063.307.97%
6Hungarian ForintHUF220.497.42%
7Norwegian KroneNOK5.54617.41%
8Turkish LiraTRY1.77877.36%
9Philippine PesoPHP40.866.50%
10Singapore DollarSGD1.22056.12%

The 10 currencies that depreciated the most versus the US Dollar is summarized below.

2012 Worst 10 World Currencies

 CurrencySymbolJan. 3, 2013 USD Exchange RateYear-on-Year (Depreciation)
1Malawian KwachaMWK334.695-104.08%
2Sudanese PoundSDG4.4125-64.65%
3Syrian PoundSYP71-31.14%
4Ghanaian CediGHS1.9085-17.81%
5Afghan AfghaniAFN50.98-17.63%
6Gambian DalasiGMD34.125-15.38%
7Burundian FrancBIF1530-15.12%
8Argentinean PesoARS4.925-14.53%
9Japanese YenJPY87.347-12.47%
10Sri Lankan RupeeLKR127.35-11.96%

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