[GENEVA] Singapore retained its place as the world's second-most competitive economy, after Switzerland which held the top spot for a fifth year.
This is according to the World Economic Forum's latest Global Competitiveness Report. Singapore is the only economy to feature in the top 3 in seven out of the 12 pillars of the Global Competitiveness Index, which looks at goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency and financial market development, among other pillars.
"Singapore's competitiveness is further enhanced by its strong focus on education, which has translated into a steady improvement of its ranking in the higher education and training pillar, where it comes in 2nd, behind Finland," the report wrote. "Singapore's private sector is also becoming increasingly sophisticated and more innovative, although room for improvement exists in both areas, which are the keys to Singapore's future prosperity."
Germany and the US rose two slots to fourth and fifth respectively in the Geneva-based organisation's 148-nation league. Finland remains at the third position.
The US clambered back amid an improvement in the status of its financial market and public institutions even as questions lingered about the stability of its economy, the WEF said in a report published yesterday. Germany was rewarded for the quality of its infrastructure and sophistication of its business sector.
"Having declined for four consecutive years in the ranking, the United States reverses its downward trend," the report said. "While the economy is getting back on track, the deleveraging process in the banking sector continues to show positive effects on the stability and efficiency of the country's financial markets."
Switzerland, home to companies including Nestle SA and Novartis AG, was credited for encouraging innovation and an efficient labour market. Public institutions were described as among the most effective and transparent, while its economy was seen as among the most stable.
As emerging-market economies weaken, only Russia of the so-called BRIC nations improved its standing by climbing three places to 64th. China held on to the 29th rank, Brazil fell eight slots to 56th and India slipped one place to 60th. Indonesia is the most improved Group of 20 nation since 2006. The nation rose to 38th from 50th in the latest rankings.
Europe's bailed-out nations were advised to address weaknesses in their markets and boost innovation. Greece rose to 91st from 96th in the table and Spain rose a slot to 35th. Italy fell seven places to 49th, below Barbados and Lithuania.
Among the other Group of Seven economies, Japan rose a notch to ninth and the UK dropped to 10th from eighth. Canada held on to 14th place and France fell to 23rd from 21st.
Of all the nations studied, Chad was ranked bottom after falling nine places.
The report - published each year by the organisers of the annual conference of business leaders, politicians and entertainers in Davos, Switzerland - is based in part on 12 measures of competitiveness. - Bloomberg