Singapore still best place to do business, says EIU
THE Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has once again ranked Singapore as the best place in the world to do business because of its efficient and open economy.
Second out of the 82 countries and territories surveyed was Switzerland, followed by Australia, Hong Kong and Sweden respectively.
Singapore has come out tops for seven consecutive years. Last month, it also topped the World Bank's ease of doing business report, which looked at 189 countries.
The rankings were based on the attractiveness of a country's business environment measured by criteria such as political climate, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise, openness to foreign investment, foreign-trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.
The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries fared poorly on this year's rankings. China was 50th, Russia 64th, Brazil 47th and India 48th respectively.
European Union (EU) countries were some way off the top, with Britain at No. 21 - below Malaysia on the annual index.
"The impact of the debt crisis on political stability, economic stability and financing availability has meant that the EU countries remain some way off the top," said the EIU report.
However, other northern Europe countries, namely Denmark and Finland, did make it into the top 10, placing eighth and 10th respectively, as they "continue to provide a stable environment to do business".
Aengus Collins, European analyst at EIU, said: "The broader picture that has emerged from the index is that confidence in many countries has taken a battering and recovery will be a slow process.
"Until a few years ago, it was widely expected that conditions for business around the world would keep getting better, reflecting the relentless forward march of globalisation.
But now, the trend of continually improving business environments - underpinned by robust growth, liberal economic reforms and investment in infrastructure - has stalled and in some areas, the reverse is happening.
"The future global business landscape will be characterised by lower cross-border capital flows, tighter regulations and less risk-taking."
THE TOP 10 IN THE EIU BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT INDEX: