USA regains title of world's most competitive economy

Health and IT push Britain down global league table

For the first time in a decade, the United States was crowned the world's most competitive economy by the organisation behind the Davos economic forum.

For Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating new opportunities but it also "threatens a new divergence and polarisation within and between economies and societies".

Britain has slipped down the rankings of the most competitive global economies, hindered by weaknesses in health, information and communication technology and skills.

"The United States achieves the best overall performance", WEF said in a statement.

The report notes that Indonesia benefits from its sheer size and its interconnectedness, which combined with a vibrant entrepreneurial culture and overall business dynamism is said to "bode well for the future".

The latest ranking shows Bangladesh slipping below 100 again after it had moved up eight notches to rank 99th among 138 nations past year.

"While it is too early for the data to filter through in this year's report, we would expect trade tensions with China and other trading partners to have a negative impact on the U.S.' competitiveness in the future, were they to continue", Saadia Zahidi wrote, in an email to Reuters. Creative capacity reached the lowest score with just 33 points but still ranked 82nd out of 140 countries.

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Still, the US surpassed Switzerland, which topped the list of most competitive economies in 2017.

"The data suggest that global economic health would be positively impacted by a return to greater openness and integration", WEF said.

The highest mark possible is 100 points, an imaginary ideal "frontier" of economic competitiveness.

Switzerland meanwhile landed in fourth place - with a score of 82.6 - after nine years at the top of the WEF ranking.

The top five countries were the U.S., Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan - all of whom saw their scores increase in 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The WEF adapted the report, which it has put out for 40 years, to account for the importance of technology as an economic driver in the modern era, which WEF refers to as "the Fourth Industrial Revolution".

However, New Zealand struggled when it came to innovation capability, ranking 27th on a global level.

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