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Hong Kong still worlds freest economy

For the 17th year in a row, Hong Kong is still the worlds freest economy, a report reveals.

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The city, a so-called special administrative region of China, scored 89.7 points, putting it ahead of Singapore, its closest rival in the freedom league table, although Singapore "cut into Hong Kong’s lead significantly", according to a press release accompanying the findings. 

Australia’s economy was rated third-freest, followed in order by New Zealand, Swizterland, Canada and Ireland (see chart, below).

China itself scored 135th on the list.

Hong Kong’s score placed it comfortably above the global average of 59.7, according to the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based Conservative think tank. The index ranks economic freedoms in 10 areas, with countries that demonstrate "a commitment to individual empowerment, non-discrimination and the promotion of competition" scoring the best.

More nations embrace economic freedom

The report’s authors noted that more countries embraced greater economic freedom than shied away from it last year, in spite of being faced with continuing fiscal challenges. "More than half the 183 countries now listed in the index improved their scores," they said.

Such findings, they added, suggested that leaders from around the world had "begun to understand and appreciate the link between economic freedom, prosperity and overall well-being".

Scores had declined for the previous two years, as countries responded to the global financial crisis with increased spending and regulations. 

North Korea was rated the least free countries in economic terms; Zimbabwe was second from the bottom, Cuba third, Eritrea fourth, Venezuela fifth, and Burba sixth.

2011 Index of Economic Freedom
Rank Country Score
1 Hong Kong 89.7
2 Singapore 87.2
3 Australia 82.5
4 New Zealand 82.3
5 Switzerland 81.9
6 Canada 80.8
7 Ireland 78.7 
8 Denmark 78.6
9 United States 77.8
10 Bahrain 77.7
11 Chile 77.4
12 Mauritius 76.2
13 Luxembourg 76.2 
14 Estonia 75.2 
15 The Netherlands 74.7
16 United Kingdom 74.5 
17 Finland 74.0
18 Cyprus 73.3 
19 Macau 73.1
20 Japan 72.8

 Source: 2011 Index of Economic Freedom

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