NEW YORK: Denmark has been ranked as the "best country for business" by Forbes magazine, followed by the US and Canada, which are among the nations best equipped to "bounce back" from the current economic downturn.

While Denmark's economic growth slowed to 0.3% last year, the country was still credited for its "high-tech agriculture, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry," as well as a high standard of living.

The US was the top-ranked country in terms of innovation, and American companies were perceived to "enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan."

However, the country's economy also faces a number of "long-term" problems, including an inadequate investment in infrastructure, an increasing budget and trade deficit, and rising medical and pension costs.

Singapore – described as "Southeast Asia's financial and high-tech hub" – was ranked in fourth place, followed by New Zealand, the UK, Sweden, Australia, Hong Kong and Norway.

Among the core developing markets, China, the world's second-largest economy, was ranked in 63rd place, scoring particularly badly in terms of the tax burden, red tape and personal freedom. 

Brazil was ranked two places below China, and was praised for its sound macroeconomic policy, though its stock market, Bovespa, also lost 41% of its total value during 2008 as a whole.

India, in 75th, was credited with deregulating foreign trade and investment, but the presence of tariffs in certain markets, and the slow progress of overall economic reform, were argued to limit companies' ability to access the country's expanding market.

Russia was just outside the top 100, despite having averaged economic growth of 7% since 1998, but "large investment" is still required in the country's infrastructure, and corruption levels also need to be brought under control to encourage investment.

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by WARC staff