Singapore regained its position as the country with the most competitive economy in the world, the award it won last time in 2010. The country jumped from third position last year to first position, shifting the United States which fell to third position. During the previous four years, Singapore was in third or fourth position. The IMD World Competitiveness Rankings, established in 1989, take into account various statistics such as unemployment, GDP and government spending on health and education, as well as data from the Executive Opinion Survey covering topics such as social cohesion, globalization and corruption.
This information is included in four categories – economic performance, infrastructure, government efficiency, and business efficiency – to provide a final score for each country. The Asia-Pacific region emerged as a beacon of high competitiveness, with 11 of the 14 economic indicators fulfilled to improve or maintain the position of the countries there, led by Singapore and Hong Kong at the top of the global chart.
The effect of rising fuel prices affects the ranking, with inflation reducing competitiveness in some countries. Stronger trade income helped oil and gas producers such as Saudi Arabia, which surged 13 places to 26th place, and Qatar, which entered the top 10 for the first time since 2013. The United Arab Emirates, entered the top five for the first time. UAE now ranks first globally for business efficiency, outperforming other economies in fields such as productivity, digital transformation and entrepreneurship.
Indonesia jumped eleven steps to 32nd, enjoying the biggest improvement in the region, thanks to increased efficiency in the government sector and improved infrastructure and business conditions. South Asian countries are characterized by the lowest labor costs of the 63 countries studied. Thailand, driven by increased foreign direct investment and productivity, climbed five steps to 25th place in 2019. While Japan fell five places to 30th place, hampered by a sluggish economy, government debt, and a weak business environment.
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