China Business Blog - Aggregated China Business Blogs
Aggregated China Business Blogs
US ranks top in competitiveness
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

THE US regained its lead in a competitiveness ranking of 60 economies, while Switzerland rose one notch, bucking the trend in Europe.

The US is first on the IMD business school's annual list after coming second in 2012, thanks to a rebounding financial sector, an abundance of technological innovation and successful companies, the Lausanne-based business school said in a statement yesterday.

Switzerland's export-oriented manufacturing economy surpassed that of Hong Kong, which fell to third place. While the franc's 30 percent gain against the euro over the past five years makes the country less competitive, Switzerland still outranked the rest of Europe, most of which is held back by government spending cuts.

"Switzerland is one of the few countries in Europe together with Germany that has kept manufacturing capabilities, despite it becoming more expensive," said Stephane Garelli, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

The Swiss National Bank has shielded manufacturers from further currency pressure with a ceiling of 1.20 francs (US$1.25) per euro since 2011. The country's economy rose 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the fourth, triple the average rate economists had forecast, helped by consumer spending.

One-third of the ranking is from a survey of 4,200 executives, with the remainder pulled from statistics such as GDP and government spending on scientific research.

Among other shifts, the United Arab Emirates rose to eighth place from 16th while the Netherlands dropped to 14th from 11th. Germany kept its ranking at ninth place while France was in 28th place.

Swiss companies from watchmaker Swatch Group AG to Nestle SA, the largest food and beverage producer, have shifted focus to customers in fast-developing Asia, which has protected Switzerland from Europe's financial woes, Garelli said.

Aside from Switzerland, Sweden and Germany, the rest of Europe is constrained by austerity programs, IMD said.

Original URL: Click here to visit original article
Copyright Shanghai Daily: Business