Singapore reclaims top spot in competitive economy ranking
Republic switches places with US, which slipped to third place
Singapore has reclaimed its spot as the world's most competitive economy, an accolade it last won in 2010.
The Lion City jumped from third place last year to first, switching places with the US, which slipped from top spot to third.
For the previous four years, Singapore had hovered around the third or fourth place.
The ranking, by Swiss business school IMD, evaluates the extent to which a country fosters an environment where enterprises can achieve sustainable growth, generate jobs and increase welfare for its citizens.
In the report, which was released early this morning (Singapore time), Singapore's rise to the top was attributed to its advanced technological infrastructure, availability of skilled labour, favourable immigration laws and the efficient way in which new businesses can be set up here.
Professor Arturo Bris, director for the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, said Singapore's leap to first place yields two lessons: first, that scale is not essential, since smaller economies can achieve consensus more easily and second, that good policies pay off in the long run.
"When countries focus on a long-term vision rather than on short-term tactics, they improve the prosperity of their people," he said.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong held on to second place, aided by a benign tax and business policy environment and access to business finance.
As for the US, the "initial boost to confidence from President Donald Trump's first wave of tax policies appears to have faded", according to the report.
While Washington still sets the pace for levels of infrastructure and economic performance, the competitiveness of the world's biggest economy was hit by higher fuel prices, weaker high-tech exports and fluctuations in the value of the US dollar.
Looking ahead, Singapore must deepen its ability to help firms scale up, equip workers with the skills to thrive in a knowledge-intensive environment, and create better local and international partnerships to access new markets, the report said.
Established in 1989, the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings evaluates 63 economics on four categories: economic performance, infrastructure, government efficiency and business efficiency.
Rounding up its list of the top five most competitive economies were Switzerland, which moved one place up to be fourth, and the United Arab Emirates.
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