S'pore up on business attractiveness ranking

PHOTO: S'pore up on business attractiveness ranking

SINGAPORE is a slightly more attractive place to do business in 2013, though labour and material costs have gotten worse, according to a global ranking by Bloomberg.

The Republic was ranked the eighth best country to do business this year in the annual global assessment by Bloomberg. That was a marginal improvement over 2012's No 9 ranking, which was shared with Austria.

The Bloomberg rankings rate nations based on six factors: the cost of setting up business; the cost of labour and material; the cost of moving goods; the degree of economic integration; less tangible costs such as inflation and corruption; and the readiness of the local consumer base.

All of those factors are weighted 20 per cent in the final assessment, except for the degree of economic integration and the readiness of the local consumer base, both of which are weighted at 10 per cent.

Singapore improved its ranking in most categories. In terms of the cost of setting up business, the nation came in second, behind Hong Kong. Singapore was ranked fifth in this category in 2012.

But in terms of the cost of labour and material, Singapore's standing fell 10 places to 44 for 2013, from 34 last year. Tightened labour and immigration policies over the past year have become a sore point for many Singapore businesses, many of which have been complaining about a labour crunch.

A recent poll of 500 Singapore companies by placement group Achieve showed that 9 per cent of respondents were going to increase wages to attract employees, while almost half of the companies expected tighter foreign worker rules to raise business costs.

Hong Kong, Singapore's regional rival, retained its overall spot atop the annual ranking, ahead of the United States and Japan.

Despite the debt crisis that has cast a shadow over Europe for most of the past year and a half, the list is dominated by European countries.

Fifteen of the 30 European countries in the top-50 list, including Greece, improved their rankings from a year ago, compared to 13 that saw their rankings slip. Overall, the aggregate ranking improvement of the European countries was 35 spots.