UK climbs in global competitiveness rankings


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Britain has moved up the rankings on the global competitiveness league, according to the World Economic Forum (WEA). The UK is ranked in 10th position in the 2011 table, up from 12th last year. The strengths of Britain were judged to be an efficient labour market, a sophisticated and innovative business sector and a large domestic market. The weaknesses identified were a large budget deficit and rising public debt.

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The most competitive nation in the world was, again, felt by the WEA to be Switzerland, which was singled out for its high university enrolment rate of 49.4 per cent, its well-developed financial markets and "excellent" infrastructure.

Singapore was rated as the most competitive Asian nation, coming second in the rankings, up from third last year. The Asian city state was praised for its lack of corruption and effective government. The rise of Singapore was part of a trend that shows emerging economies closing the competitiveness gap with OECD countries.

China, now the world's second-largest economy, climbed one place in the rankings to 26 and is praised for its savings rate of some 53 per cent of GDP and moderate budget deficits. Brazil (53) and South Africa (50) also moved upwards in the rankings.

India (56) and Russia (66), however, experienced declines. India is criticised for its deficient transport and energy infrastructure. The report advises Russia to strengthen the rule of law and the protection of property rights. Of the developed nations, the United States and Germany fell one place in the table, to fifth and sixth respectively. The WEA index analyses economies over 12 categories, including infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, education, labour-market efficiency, technological readiness, market size and business innovation.

One of the report's authors, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics at Columbia University, said: "Amid re-emerging concerns about the global economic outlook, policy-makers must not lose sight of long-term competitiveness fundamentals. For the recovery to be put on a more stable footing, emerging and developing economies must ensure that growth is based on productivity enhancements."

The least competitive economy out of the 142 analysed was judged to be Chad.