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China sees slight decline in global competitiveness rankings

(Xinhua)

08:27, September 06, 2012

GENEVA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- China's competitiveness ranking dropped from the world's 26th in 2011 to 29th this year, its first decline since 2005, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Wednesday.

But China continued to lead the group of large emerging market economies, the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 said.

Among the other four BRICS economies, only Brazil, which ranked the 48th this year, moved up this year. South Africa, ranking the 52th, India, 59th, and Russia, 67th, also experienced small declines in rankings among 144 economies in the world.

Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, Senior Economist of the WEF and co-author of the report, told Xinhua that the change of China's ranking is so small and it was hard to interpret right now.

"It's only very tiny decline. China is still doing very well," she said.

She said the gap between China and the other BRICS countries is going to remain for the time being, while Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization might bring some changes to its ranking in the future.

Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, topped the rankings. Singapore, Finland and Sweden took the second, third and fourth position respectively.

The report indicated that Switzerland and countries in Northern Europe have been consolidating their strong competitiveness positions since the economic downturn in 2008.

On the other hand, countries in Southern Europe, for example, Spain, ranking the 36th, Italy, 42nd, Portugal, 49th, and Greece, 96th, continued to suffer from competitiveness weaknesses in terms of macroeconomic imbalances, poor access to financing, rigid labour markets and an innovation deficit, said the report.

The United States continued its decline in the rankings for the fourth consecutive year, falling two places to the 7th. It's overtaken by Netherlands, ranking the 5th, and Germany, the 6th.

Hanouz said there is a political deadlock that is not able to address the issues confronted by the United States, including the macroeconomic stability concerns and rising public debts.

"Trust in politicians has been falling over the past years," she said.

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