labels: economy - general, trade
US emerges most competitive economy; India slips to 48th in WEF global ranking news
01 November 2007

Mumbai: The United States with its innovative businesses and top universities is the world''s most competitive economy despite concerns over its fiscal health, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in its Global Competitiveness Report.

India has slipped six places to rank 48th in the Global Competitiveness Index 2007 even as China, already more competitive than India, has moved up one position to become the world''s 34th most competitive economy.

However, India ranks ahead of China in the ''Business Competitive Index'' list, published for the first time. India has been placed at 31st, as against 57th for China on this list.

The US, which ranked sixth, last year, has beaten last year''s topper Switzerland to the top post. The US is now followed by Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany at the top of the Global Competitiveness Index. Other countries in the top-ten are Finland (6th), Singapore (7th), Japan (8th), the UK (9th) and the Netherlands (10th).

The sheer size of the US market made it "arguably the country with the most productive and innovative potential in the world," the Swiss-based WEF said in its 2007 report.

This was in spite of Washington''s huge budget and trade deficits and the erosion of the US dollar that have caused many to question whether the long-time economic leader was losing ground to emerging players India and China.

While it ranked first overall among 131 countries - fending off Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany in the top five - the United States scored 75th for macroeconomic stability, behind developing countries including Tunisia, Vietnam and Mongolia.

Singapore and Japan were the top-ranked Asian countries in the index, in seventh and eighth place.

Chile, ranked 26th, was named the most competitive Latin American economy. Mexico placed 52nd, Brazil was 72nd and Argentina ranked what the Forum called "a disappointing 85th."

The WEF changed its way of calculating countries'' competitiveness in 2007, making direct comparisons with prior rankings impossible.

After recalculating last year''s list to reflect those changes -- which include expanded analysis of financial, labour and goods markets, and a new emphasis on market size - it said the United States had also ranked first in 2006, followed by Britain, Denmark, Switzerland and Japan.

In the 2007 index, Israel was the top-ranked Middle Eastern country, in 17th place, followed by oil exporters Kuwait and Qatar who were ranked 30th and 31st ahead of Saudi Arabia at 35.

Resurgent economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is "not yet reflected in improved competitiveness rankings for the region," the Forum said. South Africa, ranked 44th overall, had the continent''s best showing, followed by Mauritius in 60th.

Sub-Saharan African countries, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Burundi dominated the very bottom of the ranking. Chad was rated lowest, in 131st and last place.

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US emerges most competitive economy; India slips to 48th in WEF global ranking