Singapore has retained its ranking as the best location in the world in which do business, with New Zealand again judged to be the runner-up.
The rankings, which form part of the World Bank’s (WB) 2016 Doing Business report, sees Denmark edge up to third place from fourth last year, while the Republic of Korea moves up from fifth to fourth. Both locations improve their ranking at the expense of Hong Kong, which slips from third to fifth place.
The top ten in this year’s report – with last year’s ranking in brackets – is completed by the UK at sixth (8th); USA at seventh (unchanged); Sweden eighth (11th); Norway ninth (6th) and Finland tenth (9th).
The WB’s latest report finds that doing business globally has become easier, with more than 60% of the world’s economies improving their business rules in 2015. Lower income economies generally showed greater progress than their high-income rivals, with the greatest improvement registered by Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Cyprus, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Senegal and Benin.
“Economies performing best in the Doing Business rankings are not those with no regulation but those whose governments have managed to create rules that facilitate interactions in the marketplace without needlessly hindering the development of the private sector.”
Rita Ramalho, programme manager of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) Doing Business project commented: “It is heartening to see so many economies, particularly low-income and fragile states, undertaking reforms to improve the business environment for local entrepreneurs.
“In time, this can result in increased job creation, economic growth and greater prosperity.”
The international trade deal is described as the most significant since the formation of the World Trade Organisation in 1995.
Finance ministers back further moves to prevent multinationals from exploiting differences in tax rates between EU member countries and those outside the region.
The European Banking Authority said that its proposed rules for stronger customer authentication would be relaxed for payments under €10.
A relatively small population and take-up of the latest technologies makes the country a testbed for payment innovation, according to an ANZ Group report.