Singapore still has the 2nd freest economy in the world but gap widens with top-ranked Hong Kong

The margin between Singapore and top-ranked Hong Kong widened this year.
The Straits Times

Singapore has retained its spot as the second freest economy in the world for the 24th consecutive year with Hong Kong taking the top spot.

Singapore received an economic freedom score of 88.8 points, while Hong Kong scored 90.2, on the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom published by American think tank, The Heritage Foundatin, and covers 186 economies.

The margin between the two cities widened this year from the 1.2-point difference noted in last year’s ranking.

Meanwhile, Malaysia, which was ranked sixth, scored 74.5, an improvement of 0.7 points from the previous year.

The report said that Singapore’s overall score improved by 0.2 points from last year due to improvements in government integrity, labour freedom and property rights which outweighted lower scores for the business freedom and fiscal health indicators.

“Singapore’s highly developed free-market economy owes its success in large measure to its remarkably open and corruption-free business environment, prudent monetary and fiscal policies, and a transparent legal framework,” said the report.

“The government is prudent in its implementation of an active industrial policy to promote economic development and diversification and is addressing business concerns through significant public investments and targeted fiscal incentives.”

It also stated that well-secured property rights in Singapore promote entrepreneurship and productivity growth effectively.

The report adds: “A societal intolerance of corruption strongly undergirds the rule of law.”

At the bottom of the list was Cuba (#178), Venezuela (#179) and North Korea (#180). Six economies – Iraq, Libya, Liechtenstein, Somalia, Syria and Yemen – were not given rankings.