The UK has been ranked as the seventh most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum's 2016-17 global competitiveness report, published on Tuesday (27 September).
This is three ranks better than last year, when the UK was on 10th spot. This is also the best ranking the country has received since the comparable records began a decade ago. This time around, the country has managed to beat Japan, Hong Kong and Finland which were ranked higher last year.
The report by WEF, a Swiss nonprofit foundation said the improved performance over last year was amid the UK's status as a digital pioneer and its support lent out to entrepreneurs. The ranking, however, did not take June's Brexit vote into consideration.
With regards to the same, WEF said in a statement that the UK's economic relationship with the European Union (EU) was incredibly complex. It added that it was impossible to know how the country's exit from the bloc, once it happens, would affect its competitiveness.
Nonetheless, it said that according to its analysis, there was a clear downside risk to the UK economy from Brexit, with only limited potential for upside, at least in the short term. It added that this analysis did not factor into account many indirect effects Brexit would have and that these in themselves could be substantial.
Overall, the WEF report revealed that Switzerland was the most competitive economy in the world. Singapore was ranked a close second, while the US came in third. European powerhouse Germany slipped one spot from last year to fifth spot, while Sweden, like the UK jumped three spots and was ranked sixth.
European economies continued to dominate the top ten ranks. WEF said maintaining and improving prosperity levels for these economies would depend significantly on their ability to harness innovation and talent of their workforce.
Further, the report said that India rose 16 spots to be ranked 39th, while China continued to hold the highest ranking among Brics nations at 28. In Asia, Malaysia and Philippines were among the biggest losers. While the former dropped seven places to the 25th spot, the latter declined 10 spots and is now in the 57th place.
WEF founder Klaus Schwab, cautioned that declining openness was a major threat. "Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth," he warned.