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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 21:06 GMT 22:06 UK
US is 'best for business'
Gabriel Batistuta playing football for Argentina
Argentina are relegated to the bottom of the table
The US has maintained its position as the most competitive place in the world to do business.

The US has now been at the top of the league for seven consecutive years.

Top five
USA
Finland
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Singapore
Argentina found itself at the bottom of the heap, following its currency devaluation.

The UK is stuck in the middle of the table at position 16, just behind Germany but ahead of France and Spain.

Winners and losers

The US won the league after it ranked first for business efficiency, direct investment flows and the use of computers.

But in spite of the success, public confidence in corporate US has been greatly affected by the Enron scandal and other high-profile bankruptcies.

Bottom five
Poland
Turkey
Indonesia
Venezuela
Argentina
Japan, the world's second largest economy and a previous winner, has now been relegated to 30th position due to the ongoing economic difficulties there.

The report also warned that Japan could face further declines as the euro gains ground in challenging the yen's position as an alternative to the dollar.

Other high fliers such as Singapore and Hong Kong also dropped lower down the list due to the highly volatile economic environment in Asia.

Bumpy road ahead

The annual report was compiled by the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.

The report noted that 2001 was "a year to forget" in terms of competitiveness due to the global economic downturn.

Many economies around the world lost steam and many stock markets plunged, meaning competitiveness has become even more essential for many companies feeling the pinch.

The report does not predict a rosy recovery in 2002, predicting instead a bumpy road towards improvement during the course of the year.

See also:

18 Apr 02 | Business
IMF upbeat on world economy
18 Apr 02 | Business
US economy 'to keep growing'
05 Mar 02 | Business
Japan pledges economy boost
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