Singapore ranks most competitive globally, Malaysia second within ASEAN

With a score of 84.8 out of 100, Singapore takes the top spot in terms of competitiveness, according to the latest global report by the World Economic Forum. Malaysia, which comes in second within ASEAN with a score of 74.6, is ranked 25th out of 141 countries surveyed.



Singapore, which beat out the United States (2nd), appears to be benefiting from global trade tensions through trade diversion, said the report. It ranks first in terms of infrastructure, health, labour market functioning and financial system development. The report said: "Going forward, in order to become a global innovation hub, Singapore will need to promote entrepreneurship and further improve its skills base."

Meanwhile, Malaysia's score improved slightly by 0.2 points and came in second within ASEAN. Its three top strengths are macro-economic stability (100), financial system (85) and health of human capital (81). Weaknesses include innovation capability (55), product market (65), and institutions (69).

Thailand stands behind Malaysia within ASEAN, ranking 40th globally with a score of 68.1 points. Indonesia, which ranks 50th globally with 64.6 points, comes in next in the fourth place.

Indonesia is down five places from last year, though the decline in overall score is small (0.3). Its main strengths are its market size (82.4, 7th) and macroeconomic stability (90.0, 54th). Indonesia also boasts a vibrant business culture (69.6, 29th) and a stable financial system (64.0, 58th) - both of which are improvements over 2018. It also has a high rate of technology adoption (55.4, 72nd), considering the country’s stage of development and that the quality of access remains relatively low, added the report. Innovation capacity remains limited (37.7, 74th), but is increasing.

Led by Singapore, the Asia Pacific region is the most competitive in the world, followed by Europe and North America. Meanwhile, Vietnam is the country whose score improves the most globally. Overall, the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 reveals an average 61 points, almost 40 points short of the competitiveness “frontier”. As the world economy faces the prospect of a downturn, the report’s survey of 13,000 business executives also highlights deep uncertainty and lower confidence.

Building on four decades of experience in benchmarking competitiveness, the index by the World Economic Forum maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organised into 12 themes. The pillars are namely: institutions; infrastructure; information communications technology adoption; macro-economic stability; health; skills; product market; labour market; financial system; market size; business dynamism; and innovation capability.

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