Tuesday 31 October 2017 2:51 pm

UK retains seventh spot in ease of doing business ranking

The UK retained its spot as the seventh best nation in the world for ease of doing business, according to an influential ranking published today.

The US leapfrogged the UK to move up to sixth overall, according to the 15th annual Doing Business report from the World Bank, published today. In 2015 the UK came in sixth.

New Zealand topped the ranking, which lists 119 economies worldwide according to criteria such as ease of starting a business, ease of registering property, and other business regulations.

Ease of doing business top 10

Rank (2016)CountryScore (100)Change
1 (1)New Zealand86.55-0.18
2 (2)Singapore84.57+0.04
3 (3)Denmark84.06-0.01
4 (5)South Korea83.920
5 (4)Hong Kong83.44+0.29
6 (8)United States82.54-0.01
7 (7)UK82.22-0.12
8 (6)Norway82.16-0.25
9 (16)Georgia82.04+2.12
10 (9)Sweden81.27+0.03

Read more: UK slips out of top 20 ranks for ease of doing business

Singapore and Denmark retained their second and third spots, followed by South Korea and Hong Kong.

The governments of some smaller nations have made concerted efforts to rise up the ranking in order to attract investors.

For instance, Estonia and Lithuania rank at 12th and 16th respectively, while more bureaucratic nations struggle. Italy comes in at 46th.

China, the world’s second largest economy, ranks at only 78th, while India rose by 30 places to 100th.

The report found developing countries were responsible for the majority of reforms over the last year, with Sub-Saharan Africa enjoying a record year of business reform.

Read more: UK is the world's sixth-most business friendly country

However, Somalia remained bottom of the list, while Venezuela fell a place to 188th.

The World Bank, which is focused on encouraging development, produces the report to provide a comparison of standards in the business environment.

Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank’s senior director for development economics, said: “Public policy plays a decisive role in enabling small and medium businesses to start, operate and expand. Governments around the world are increasingly turning to Doing Business for objective data to underpin their actions.”

However, the report does not measure macroeconomic stability, development of the financial system, market size, the incidence of bribery and corruption, meaning some of its findings can seem superficially odd.

For instance, Macedonia ranks higher than Germany, while Mauritius ranks well above Japan.

Read more: Focus on business environment and universities after Brexit, report urges