The 27 Most Competitive Countries In The World

Ottawa canada weightlifterREUTERS/Chris WattieA man lifts weights on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

The World Economic Forum has released its annual report of the globe’s most competitive economies.

The report ranks these economies on the “12 pillars of competitiveness”: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.

“Smart investment in skills and innovation is key to enhanced productivity and competitiveness,” they said. “It also supports more inclusive growth by allowing everyone to contribute to and benefit from higher levels of prosperity. Economies that consistently rank high in the competitiveness rankings are those that are able to develop, attract and retain talent, and constantly introduce new and higher value-added products and services into the market.”

The report adds that “while all of the pillars described above will matter to a certain extent for all economies, it is clear that they will affect different economies in different ways: the best way for Cambodia to improve its competitiveness is not the same as the best way for France to do so” because the two countries are in different stages of development.

The WEF ranked 144 economies.

26. South Korea

South Korea ranked 14th on infrastructure, 7th on macroeconomic environment, and 11th on market size.

South Korea's August exports missed market expectations -- they are down 0.1% over the year. Additionally, analysts believe that South Korean export volatility could continue until there is an economic recovery in China.

Source: World Economic Forum

24. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia ranks 4th on macroeconomic environment, 25th on institutions, and 30th on financial market development.

Non-oil PMI is expanding 'at the fastest rate since September 2012' in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, consumer spending remained strong.

Source: World Economic Forum

23. France.

France ranks 8th on infrastructure, 17th on technological readiness, and 8th on market size.

France's jobless rate rose by 0.8% in July, and 4.3% over the last year. Additionally, France is expected to see minimal economic growth.

Source: World Economic Forum

21. Austria

Austria ranks 13th on infrastructure, 7th on business sophistication, and 18th on innovation.

Provided that the economy does not unexpectedly slow down, Austria is expected to hit its 2014 and 2015 budget targets. Additionally, the new finance minister 'vowed' that there would be tax reforms, and a simplification of the bureaucracy.

Source: World Economic Forum

20. Malaysia

Petronus Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia ranks 7th on goods market efficiency, 4th on financial market development, and 15th on business sophistication.

Malaysia's economy recently unexpectedly accelerated because of rapid export growth.

Source: World Economic Forum

19. Luxembourg

Luxembourg ranks 1st in technological readiness, 6th for institutions, and 5th for goods market efficiency.

Luxembourg recently increased subsidies for green energy.

Source: World Economic Forum

18. Belgium

Belgium ranks 2nd for health and primary education, 5th for higher education and training, and 10th on business sophistication.

Belgium's economy saw GDP expand by 0.1% in Q2 2014 -- which is 1.0% up over the year.

Source: World Economic Forum

16. Qatar

Qatar ranks 4th for institutions, 2nd for macroeconomic environment, and 4th for goods market efficiency.

Qatar is spending $US45 billion to build a completely new city for the 2022 World Cup. (That's over 107 times the amount of money that Guardians of the Galaxy raked in this summer.)

Source: World Economic Forum

15. Canada

Canada ranks 7th for health and primary education, 7th for labour market efficiency, and 8th for financial market development.

Canada's economy grew by 3.1% in the second quarter, which 2.7% greater than economists were expecting.

Source: World Economic Forum

14. Taiwan

Taiwan ranks 11th for infrastructure, 11th for goods market efficiency, and 10th in innovation.

Taiwan recently raised its 2014 growth forecast. Additionally, a new economic minister, Woody Duh, was recently appointed following the predecessor's resignation.

Source: World Economic Forum

13. Denmark

Denmark ranks 10th in higher education and training, 12th in labour market efficiency, and 6th in technological readiness.

Denmark's economy contracted in the second quarter following a three-month expansion.

Source: World Economic Forum

12. United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates ranks 5th in macroeconomic environment, 3rd in infrastructure, 3rd in goods market efficiency.

The United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector grew 'at the fastest pace on record in August.'

Source: World Economic Forum

11. Norway

Norway ranks 1st in macroeconomic environment, 4th in technological readiness, and 8th in higher education and training.

A higher electricity production contributed to the faster-than-expected second quarter growth for Norway's economy. The growth was 0.8% greater than what analysts expected.

Source: World Economic Forum

10. Sweden

Sweden ranks 12th on financial market development, 3rd on technological readiness, and 7th on innovation.

Sweden recently cut its growth forecast. Additionally, the center-right government announced that if they are reelected, they will raise taxes.

Source: World Economic Forum

9. United Kingdom

The UK ranks 10th in infrastructure, 2nd in technological readiness, and 5th in labour market efficiency.

The UK's economy is quickly expanding, and grew by 3.2% in the from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014. On September 18th, there will be a Scottish independence referendum (with results announced on early September 19).

Prime Minsiter Cameron told the Scots that 'much of their industry and more than 1 million jobs could be put in jeopardy if they vote next month to leave the United Kingdom.'

Source: World Economic Forum

8. Netherlands

The Netherlands ranks 4th in infrastructure, 5th in health and primary education, and 3rd in higher education and training.

The Dutch economy grew slightly in Q2 following higher exports and investment.

Source: World Economic Forum

7. Hong Kong

Hong Kong ranks 3rd in labour market efficiency, 1st in financial market development, and 5th in technological readiness.

Hong Kong's income inequality is rising as the economy is contracting. The rich might be 'shielded' from this economic deflation.

Source: World Economic Forum

6. Japan

Japan ranks 1st for business sophistication, 4th for innovation, and 6th for health and primary education.

There is continued uncertainty over Japan's economy -- household spending fell by 5.9% on the year in July and industry output rose by less than expected.

Source: World Economic Forum

5. Germany

Germany ranks 3rd for business sophistication, 6th for innovation, and 7th for infrastructure.

The Ukraine crisis is slowing down Germany's economy for the fourth consecutive month.

Source: World Economic Forum

3. The United States

The U.S. ranks 4th for labour market efficiency, 4th for business sophistication, and 7th for higher education and training.

The U.S. is one of the only developed economies whose GDP is higher today than it was before the financial crisis, and remains a global leader in manufactured goods and technology.

Source: World Economic Forum

2. Singapore

Singapore ranks 1st for goods market efficiency, 2nd labour market efficiency, and 2nd for financial market development.

Singapore's economy grew by 2.4% in Q2 which is greater than the estimated 2.1%. Although analysts were expecting a 0.8% contraction on the year, the GDP expanded by 0.1%.

Source: World Economic Forum

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