MANILA, Philippines – Global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group said the growth in foreign direct investments (FDI) is expected to continue in the Philippines in 2014.

Oxford Business Group launched “The Report: The Philippines 2014” on Monday, highlighting new investment opportunities in the country.

The report’s editorial manager, Rodrigo Diaz, said the Philippines saw a jump in FDI in 2013, an area he said the country “has historically lagged behind its ASEAN neighbors.”

“Net FDI inflows jumped 33 percent year-on-year in the first 9 months of 2013 to reach $3.11 billion,” Diaz said during the launch.

“Growth in FDI is expected to continue in the upcoming year given Fitch’s decision to upgrade the Philippine economy to BBB-, which took the country into investment grade territory,” he added.

Diaz also said the higher credit rating from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s in 2013 helped boost the country’s banking industry.

“In terms of 2013, the Philippines was Asia’s economic success story as it became an increasingly more attractive destination,” he noted.

Meanwhile, BDO Capital & Investment Corporation president Ed Francisco, said that while an increase in FDI helps the country, he is also seeing strength in local conglomerates.

Francisco cited that local firms which participated in the Mactan Cebu international airport expansion project drove the bids, and that foreign partners were only a minority.

“We did not need the foreign money. The reason we needed the foreign for that project is for the expertise and managing the airlines. But in terms of money, the funding is here. So we don’t really need the investments, that’s a nice problem to have,” he said during the Oxford report launch.

Oxford Business Group regional editor Paulius Kuncinas said in a statement that while the Philippines was hit by challenges in 2013, including the devastation of typhoon “Yolanda” and global economic uncertainty, sound economic policies and rising investment inflow helped the country build on its strong growth.

“Although key issues could still hinder the administration’s inclusive growth agenda, a positive outlook across manufacturing and business process outsourcing, supported by healthy foreign remittances, suggests the economy is well-placed to take an anticipated GDP expansion this year of 6 percent into 2014,” said Kuncinas.

BDO, Makati Business Club, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Punongbayan & Araullo, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan helped Oxford produce “The Report: The Philippines 2014,” which is available in print and online.

The report assessed trends and developments across the economy, including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.