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Australia falls in Global Competitiveness Rankings

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Australia has the 16th most competitive business environment globally in 2019, according to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report, down two places from 2018 (14th).

This fall was largely due to improvements in other countries with Australia’s score largely unchanged in 2019.

The Australian Industry Group partnered with the WEF in collecting the business data in Australia.

Singapore was ranked number one in 2019 for the competitiveness of its business environment, overtaking the United States for top spot. The United States experienced the second largest fall of any nation (-2.0 points, only behind the Congo with -2.1 points) due to increased uncertainty amongst business leaders and a lower score for domestic competition and trade openness.

The Top Ten continues to be dominated by large, highly advanced economies including Singapore, the United States, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Denmark.

Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said: “This year’s WEF results indicate no improvement in Australia’s competitiveness.

“Australia strengths remain our macroeconomic stability, a developed financial system and a highly skilled population.

“Despite a small improvement in 2019, Australia’s lowest rankings are in infrastructure and ICT adoption, where we trail both China and Russia.

“This indicates the current focus on building out our national infrastructure (in transport, telecomms and skills) is the right path. But it also indicates we need to sharpen our ICT infrastructure and develop our digital skills to ensure Australia can take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution.

“Maintaining and improving these aspects of our global competitiveness is crucial for lifting productivity and ensuring prosperity for all,” Mr Willox said.

Key points

  • Australia has the 16th most competitive business environment globally in 2019, according to the latest WEF Global Competitiveness Report, down two places (14th place) from 2018.
  • This fall in Australia’s global competitiveness in 2019 was largely due to improvements in other countries while Australia failed to improve. Australia’s score was largely unchanged in 2019, at 78.7 points out of a possible 100 points in 2019, compared to 78.8 points in 2018.
  • Australia ranked inside the top 10 in only two of the twelve ‘pillars’ that make up the WEF Global Competitiveness Index. These were ‘macroeconomic stability’ and ‘product markets’. Australia shared the top score for ‘macroeconomic stability’ with 33 other countries. Australia also obtained high scores for the breadth, depth and stability of our financial system.
  • Australia’s weakest ‘pillars’ were for the ‘labour market’ and for ‘innovation capability’.
  • The average score across the 141 countries was 60.7 points, measured on a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is the maximum or “frontier” score.

Source: Ai Group

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