Singapore has seized the title of the world’s freest economy, toppling Hong Kong after a 53-year reign, according to a report unveiled by the Canadian think tank Fraser Institute. This marks the first time since the inception of the Economic Freedom of the World Index in 1970 that Hong Kong has been displaced from the number one position. Switzerland, New Zealand, and the United States have secured the third, fourth, and fifth spots, respectively.
The index assesses economic freedom through various criteria, including ease of international trade, the liberty to enter and compete in markets, and business regulations, among other benchmarks. Hong Kong’s decline in ranking can be attributed to new regulatory barriers to market entry, rising business costs, and restrictions on foreign labor, as noted in the report.
The data in the 2023 report is derived from 2021, representing the most recent year with comparable statistics across 165 jurisdictions. It evaluates the economic freedom of individuals, reflecting their ability to make autonomous economic decisions.
Other notable mentions in the report include the United Kingdom, which claimed the ninth spot, while Japan and Germany secured the 20th and 23rd positions, respectively.