SINGAPORE: Singapore retained its position as the second freest economy in the world for the 24th consecutive year, but the margin with top-ranked rival Hong Kong has widened further.
Singapore scored 88.8 points on the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation 1.4 points shy of Hong Kong’s 90.2. Last year, the margin between the two cities was 1.2 point – up from 0.8 point the year before. The US think tank’s annual ranking grades 12 freedoms – from property rights to financial freedom – on a scale of zero to 100 in 186 economies. Singapore’s highly developed free-market economy owes its success in large measure to its remarkably open and corruption-free business environment, prudent monetary and fiscal policies, and a transparent legal framework,” the report added. The government is prudent in its implementation of an active industrial policy to promote economic development and diversification and is addressing business concerns through significant public investments and targeted fiscal incentives. Well-secured property rights promote entrepreneurship and productivity growth effectively. A societal intolerance of corruption strongly undergirds the rule of law.” Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s overall score went up 0.4 point from last year, with improvements in government integrity, business freedom, and monetary freedom offsetting a decline in the property rights indi-cator.