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S. Korea ranks 22nd in global competitiveness this year:WEF report
SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's global competitiveness ranking fell three notches this year mainly due to administrative shortcomings and problems in the financial market, a report showed Thursday.

   According to the report compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF), South Korea's competitiveness index dropped to 22nd place out of 139 countries checked this year. South Korea was ranked 19th the previous year.

   The WEF, a Geneva-based independent organization, releases the report every year based on surveys of business leaders and the latest economic indicators deemed critical to global competitiveness.

   The report said of the 12 main sectors checked, the country's ranking went up in five categories, including macroeconomic conditions, but lost ground in the remaining seven, with the sharpest losses occurring in administrative and financial business areas.

   In the administrative sector that covers such fields as property rights protection, public trust in politicians, government red tape and ethical behavior of firms, the country's ranking plunged to 62nd place this year from 53rd last year.

   The country's competitiveness also nosedived from 58th to 83rd place in the financial market maturity category that checked parameters such as soundness of banks, affordability of financial services and restrictions on capital flow.

   The report, however, gave South Korea higher marks in macroeconomics and the labor market.

   The country's ranking in macroeconomic areas rose by five notches to sixth place, thanks to better government budget balance and national savings rates, while labor market efficiency moved up to 76th place from 84th reported in 2009.

   South Korea's finance ministry said the WEF's relatively poor ranking for South Korea highlighted the need to revamp the administrative and financial markets by raising efficiency and to build trust in the government by combating corruption and doing away with unnecessary administrative obstacles that have been cited for hurting overall competitiveness.

   The report, meanwhile, showed Switzerland remaining at the top of the list unchanged from last year, followed by Sweden, Singapore, the United States and Germany.

   Japan came in sixth place, with Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada making the top 10 on the list this year.

   Hong Kong and Taiwan ranked 11th and 13th, respectively, on the scale with Saudi Arabia coming in 21st place, just ahead of South Korea, while China ranked 27th among countries checked.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
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