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Singapore slips in world competitiveness ranking but still top in Asia

CNA – Singapore fell one rank to place fourth in a global competitiveness index of 64 economies this year.

The city-state now ranks behind Denmark, Ireland and Switzerland in the annual report, but is still the most competitive in Asia, ahead of Hong Kong.

The ranking by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Center is based on 336 criteria which assess economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

The report said Singapore’s slip in ranking was mainly a result of a slight decline in components within the government efficiency factors, such as competition legislation and adaptability of government policy.

However, the republic performed well across other indicators, including coming in second in employment, fourth in international investment, and sixth in productivity and efficiency.


The institute’s director Professor Arturo Bris noted that while Singapore has done well in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation’s late reopening – later than most European countries – shaved off some of its competitiveness.

Nevertheless, he stressed the dip was “not significant”, adding that Singapore “remains a very strong competitive economy.”

“This year, with Singapore taking advantage of the recovery, and the resilience of its economy, these are going to pay off,” Professor Bris told CNA’s Singapore Tonight on Tuesday.

The research highlighted that going forward, countries late to open up after the pandemic, including Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia are starting to see improvements in their competitiveness. In contrast, those early to open up are beginning to see a decline in ranking.

Economies with agile governance and strong trade ties have been the most successful in the latest competitive index.

Top-ranking economies – including Singapore – are small nations that make good use of access to markets and trading partners, the research found.

Second-placed Ireland, for instance, rose sharply through the ranks as a result of robust achievements in its economic performance and significant progress in government and business efficiency.