International affairs

World Competitiveness Yearbook 2009

In the 2009 WYC, Australia maintained its ranking of 7th place of the 57 nations.

Public finance, foreign direct investment, and technological infrastructure are preventing Australia from competing internationally, according to the world's most comprehensive and long-running competitiveness study.

In 2009, Australia maintained its ranking of 7th place of the 57 nations included in the study.

The US has maintained its #1 ranking due to IMD's definition of competitiveness, which accounts for 'soft' factors such as quality of life, environment and knowledge management.

The survey shows the biggest decline in overall performance (measured by largest percentage change) was in the government's financial position, with the budget surplus dropping from 1.6 per cent of GDP to 0.1 per cent of GDP. The Yearbook was also compiled before last week's federal budget.

While Australia's budget position has been one of the strongest in the OECD to date, it ranked 17th of 57 countries covered by the Yearbook.

Figure 1. Australia's Competitiveness Landscape

Source: IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2009: Australia Country Profile, p64

Australia's Broadband Challenge

Poor technological infrastructure continues to damage Australia's international competitiveness.

Communications technology, mobile phone costs and internet bandwidth speed are noted - for the second year running - as the most significant infrastructure weaknesses.

CEDA published major research on promoting broadband competition in December 2008.

GFC Stress Test

The 2009 Yearbook includes a 'stress test' on competitiveness - an assessment of how countries are likely to fare through the global financial crisis.

Australia is in 8th place, behind Denmark, Singapore, Qatar, Norway, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Sweden. The US and UK are absent from the list of countries likely to fare best through the global financial crisis.

The 'stress test' is based on a combination of: economic outlook for 2009; business and government resilience; and social measures.

2009 rankings

1. USA

2. Hong Kong

3. Singapore

4. Switzerland

5. Denmark

6. Sweden

7. Australia

8. Canada

9. Finland

10. Netherlands

11. Norway

12. Luxembourg

13. Germany

14. Qatar

15. New Zealand

16. Austria

17. Japan

18. Malaysia

19. Ireland

20. China Mainland

21. United Kingdom

22. Belgium

23. Taiwan

24. Israel

25. Chile

26. Thailand

27. Korea

28. France

29. Czech Republic

30. India

31. Lithuania

32. Slovenia

33. Slovak Republic

34. Portugal

35. Estonia

36. Kazakhstan

37. Peru

38. Bulgaria

39. Spain

40. Brazil

41. Jordan

42. Indonesia

43. Philippines

44. Poland

45. Hungary

46. Mexico

47. Turkey

48. South Africa

49. Russia

50. Italy

51. Colombia

52. Greece

53. Croatia

54. Romania

55. Argentina

56. Ukraine

57. Venezuela