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Switzerland Still Most Competitive Economy as U.S., Germany Gain

Switzerland Still Most Competitive Economy as U.S., Germany Gain
Switzerland, home to companies including Nestle SA and Novartis AG, was credited for encouraging innovation and an efficient labor market. Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Switzerland remained the most competitive economy as the U.S. and Germany gained ground lost in recent years, the World Economic Forum said.

Switzerland held the top spot for a fifth year, while Germany and the U.S. rose two slots to fourth and fifth respectively in the Geneva-based organization’s 148-nation league. Singapore and Finland retained their second and third positions.

The U.S. 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 today. 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 labor 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.

Advice for Europe

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 U.K. 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 organizers of the annual conference of business leaders, politicians and entertainers in Davos, Switzerland -- is based in part on 12 measures of competitiveness.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Kennedy in London at skennedy4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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