Singapore beats Hong Kong and the USA to be ranked on top among the world's most competitive economies for the first time in nine years. In its annual ranking list, Switzerland-based IMD Business School said that the Asian island city-state earned the No. 1 spot due to its advanced technological infrastructure, availability of skilled workers, favorable immigration laws, and efficiency for starting businesses.
Hong Kong SAR held on to its second place and, the US, on the other hand, lost two spots after faded tax cuts and weakening high-technology exports weakened confidence in the economy.
India's ranking improved by one place to 43rd, driven by a robust rate of growth in real GDP, improvements in business legislation and an increase in public expenditure on education. In 2017, it was ranked at 45th spot, while in 2016, it held a higher ranking of 41st.
The study said that India still had challenges like maintaining high growth with employment generation, digital literacy and internet bandwidth in rural areas, managing fiscal discipline, issues related to GST implementation and resource mobilisation for infrastructure development.
Among the economies listed in the annual ranking, those in the Asia-Pacific region performed well, with 11 out of 14 either improving or maintaining their rankings.
The IMD World Competitiveness Center has been compiling the rankings since 1989. It assesses 63 economies on 235 indicators that include hard data such as unemployment, economic growth and government spending on health and education, as well as soft data from a survey of international business executives on topics such as social cohesion, globalization, and corruption.
These economies were judged based on four categories: economic performance, infrastructure, government efficiency and business efficiency.
Indonesia climbed 11 spots to No. 32 on greater efficiency in government and better infrastructure and business conditions, making it the "most improved" economy in Southeast Asia.