S. Korea’s global competitiveness ranking stays pat at 26th in 2015: WEF report

September 29, 2015

SEJONG (Yonhap) — South Korea’s global competitiveness ranking stayed unchanged this year as the country won points for its macroeconomic environment while surrendering ground in the financial sectors, a report showed Wednesday.

According to the report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), South Korea ranked 26th in the competitiveness index out of 140 countries surveyed this year.

Among the three key elements checked by the Switzerland-based economic foundation, the country’s so-called basic requirements that cover institutions, infrastructure, the macroeconomic environment, and primary education and health, rose two notches to 18th place in 2015, while efficiency enhancers along with innovation and sophistication factors remained unchanged from the year before at 25th place and 22nd place, each.

The WEF’s latest report showed the country’s macroeconomic standing rising to fifth place from seventh among the countries checked, while competitiveness in infrastructure edged up to 13th from 14th. On the other hand, its ranking in financial market maturity fell to 87th place from 80th, reflecting the country’s overall weakness in this key service sector.

The findings also showed that of the 114 individual indexes checked, South Korea posted gains in 71, or 62.3 percent, of the categories examined.

The finance ministry claimed the improvement can be attributed to Seoul’s Three Year Plan for Economic Innovation starting to bear fruit this year. It, moreover, said that aggressive economic stimulus measures played a part in propping up the competitiveness in such crucial areas as the macroeconomic sphere. The ministry, on the other hand, said Asia’s fourth-largest economy suffered from challenges facing its labor market and financial services sector.

“To improve the country’s overall competitiveness on the global stage, it must continue to push forward reforms in the labor and financial realms as well as tackling administrative red tape cited for holding up business investments,” the ministry said.

Switzerland, meanwhile, kept its top position on the global competitiveness list this year, followed by Singapore and the United States. Germany and the Netherlands rounded out the top five, with Japan and Hong Kong coming in sixth and seventh places, respectively. China, the world’s No. 2 economy, trailed at 28th place, unchanged from 2014, the report showed.