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ECONOMY | Tony Chua, Singapore
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Singapore tops IMD 2010 World Competitiveness Yearbook rankings

Singapore and Hong Kong displaced the USA in a very slim lead.

For the first time in decades, Singapore (1) and Hong Kong (2) have topped the USA (3) in IMD's World Competitiveness Yearbook rankings. They are so close, however, that it would be better to define them as the leading “trio”. In the first 10 places: Australia (5), Taiwan (8) and Malaysia (10) also benefit from strong demand in Asia. Switzerland (4) maintains an excellent position characterised by strong economic fundamentals (very low deficit, debt, inflation and unemployment) and a well-defended position on export markets. Sweden (6) and Norway (9) shine for the Nordic model, although Denmark (13) surprisingly loses ground, in particular due to the pessimistic mood expressed in the survey, according to an IMD report.

Not surprisingly Germany (16) leads the larger “traditional” economies such as the UK (22), France (24), Japan (27) and Italy (40). Despite a significant budget deficit and growing debt, Germany's performance is driven by strong trade (second largest exporter of manufactured goods), excellent infrastructure, and a sound financial reputation. It was also to be expected that China (18) would lead the other BRIC nations, followed by India (31), Brazil (38) and Russia (51). And of course the credit-worthiness storm that affects Southern Europe acts as a drag on the performance of Spain (36), Portugal (37) and Greece (46).

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