Switzerland has stolen the United States' crown as the world's most competitive economy, a World Economic Forum report concludes.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2009-10 praised Switzerland's "excellent capacity for innovation" and "very sophisticated" business culture citing its economic stability as the reason it claimed the top spot.
It 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 reveals the US' weakening financial markets contributed to its decline, while the UK has slid for the second year running, coming in 13th place, also due to its financial markets' vulnerability.
However, it concedes 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.
Furthermore, a number of countries in the MENA region have made the upper half of the rankings, comprising: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Tunisia. Also in the upper half are sub-Saharan African countries, South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana.
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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