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IMD drops Thai competitiveness 2 places to 29th

THAILAND'S WORLD competitiveness ranking slipped to 29th place this year from 27th amid the political uncertainty, while both Malaysia (12) and Indonesia (37) made gains among countries in Asia.

According to the "IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014", Thailand showed declines in rankings for all factors measured by IMD, such as economic performance, government efficiency and business efficiency, except for infrastructure, which was unchanged.

According to the survey by IMD, a top-ranked global business school in Switzerland, Thailand's challenges for this year are reforming politics and governance to promote equality and balance, strengthening the network of civic corruption watchdogs to eliminate illegal enrichment at the expense of the nation, and strengthening people power in all areas, especially education and healthcare, to reform the social system.

Japan (21) continues to climb in the rankings, helped by a weaker currency that has improved its competitiveness abroad.

Most big emerging markets slid in the rankings as economic growth and foreign investment slowed and infrastructure remained inadequate. China (23) faces concerns over its business environment, while India (44) and Brazil (54) suffer from inefficient labour markets and ineffective management. Turkey (40), Mexico (41), the Philippines (42) and Peru (50) also fell.

Among the other highlights, the United States retained its top spot, reflecting the resilience of its economy, better employment figures and its dominance in technology and infrastructure.

There were no big changes among the top 10. Small economies such as Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong continued to prosper thanks to exports, efficiency and innovation.

Europe fared better than last year on its gradual economic recovery. Denmark (9) entered the top 10, joining Switzerland, Sweden, Germany (6) and Norway (10). Among Europe's peripheral economies, Ireland (15), Spain (39) and Portugal (43) all rose, while Italy (46) and Greece (57) lagged.

"The overall competitiveness story for 2014 is one of continued success in the US, partial recovery in Europe and struggles for some large emerging markets," Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, said yesterday.

"There is no single recipe for a country to climb the competitiveness rankings, and much depends on the local context."

As part of its ranking of 60 economies, the IMD World Competitiveness Centre looked at perceptions of each country as a place to do business.

Seven of the top 10 countries overall are also in the top 10 for having an image abroad that encourages business development, according to an exclusive IMD survey of executives based in each of these countries. In general there is a strong correlation between a country's overall competitiveness ranking and its international image as a place to do business.

Executives in Singapore are the most bullish on their country's overseas image, while Ireland, Chile, Qatar and South Korea are all far higher on this criterion than in the overall ranking.

By contrast, executives in the US, France, Taiwan and Poland are far gloomier about their jurisdictions' international images. The US results may reflect international conflicts and domestic political gridlock, while perceptions of France continue to be coloured by slow reforms and the country's hostile attitudes toward globalisation.

The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, which will be published at the end of next month, measures how well countries manage all their resources and competencies to increase their prosperity.

The overall ranking reflects more than 300 criteria, two-thirds of which are based on statistical indicators and one-third on an exclusive IMD survey of 4,300 international executives.


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