Switzerland has stolen the United States' crown as the world's most competitive economy, a World Economic Forum report reveals.
The US's weakening financial markets contributed to its decline, while the UK has slid for the second year running, coming in 13th place, according to the forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010.
The report uses publicly available data and a survey of 13,000 business leaders across 133 economies to calculate its rankings.
European economies dominate the top ten, which includes: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands. France was ranked 16th, Spain 33rd and Italy 48th.
The report praised Switzerland's "excellent capacity for innovation and a very sophisticated business culture," citing its economic stability as the reason it claimed the top spot.
Although the study highlighted the macroeconomic instability in the US, the report says the US economy is: "endowed with many structural features that make it extremely productive and that place it on a strong footing to ride out business cycle shifts and economic shocks".
Of the emerging markets, China appears 29th on the list of the world's most competitive economies, while India is 49th, Brazil 56th and Russia 63rd.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive of the World Economic Forum, says the strong interdependence among the world's economies makes the economic crisis truly global.
"Policy-makers are presently struggling with ways of managing these new economic challenges, while preparing their economies to perform well in a future economic landscape characterized by growing uncertainty."
"In a difficult global economic environment, it is more important than ever for countries to put into place strong fundamentals underpinning economic growth and development," he adds.
Xavier Sala-i-Martin, professor of economics at Columbia University and co-author of the report, says: "Amid the present crisis, it is critical that policy-makers not lose sight of long-term competitiveness fundamentals amid short-term urgencies."
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