IMD competitiveness study sees US on top, Germany ranked 9th | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 30.05.2013
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IMD competitiveness study sees US on top, Germany ranked 9th

The US economy is the most competitive in the world, according to a survey by Swiss think tank IMD. It regained the top spot from Hong Kong which fell to third place, while Germany made it back into the top 10.

The United States was back as the world's most competitive country, ahead of Switzerland which had moved up one place and Hong Kong, the frontrunner in 2012, the Swiss Institute for Management Development (IMD) announced Thursday.

The world's biggest economy regained the top sport due to the recovery in its financial sector, more technological innovations and successful companies.

Germany was ranked in ninth place, alongside Switzerland and Sweden one of just three European countries which made it into the top 10.

The competitiveness ranking is an annual survey compiled by the IMD institute's World Competitiveness Center. For its 2013 ranking, it looked into the economies of the world's 60 most industrialized countries. IMD has based its ranking on 333 criteria, of which about two-thirds are statistics and the remaining third gathered from opinion polls.

"In the end, the golden rules of competitiveness are simple," Stephane Garelli, the director of IMD's World Competitiveness Center, told reporters in Geneva, adding that they included manufacturing output, product diversification, exports, infrastructure, education, support for small and medium-sized business, fiscal discipline, and above all social cohesion within society.

Surprisingly, emerging economies belonging to the so-called BRICS group, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa didn't make it among the 20 most competitive countries. China climbed to 21st from 23rd and Russia to 42nd from 48th. India, Brazil and South Africa slipped several places.

The widely-observed ranking also identified global economic trends, Garelli said, which were currently marked by the robust comeback of the United States and better news from Japan. In addition, it might revive the austerity debate within the EU.

"Structural reforms are unavoidable, but growth remains a prerequisite for competitiveness," Garelli said in a reference to a current EU debate about whether more budget cuts in debt-laden eurozone countries will only drive them deeper into recession.

uhe/pfd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)