Finland boasts the world's most competitive economy, toppling the US from the head of the World Economic Forum's annual competitiveness league.

Its GDP is little over 1% of the US total, but Finland scored highest across a range of criteria used by the WEF to determine a country's prospects for medium and long-term economic growth. These include technology conditions, public institutions and the macroeconomic environment.

America – which ousted Finland from the top spot in last year's report [WAMN: 14-Nov-03] – suffered in the latest survey because of its mounting deficits. "The US still showed incredibly good scores on the technology side and innovation," declared WEF chief economist Augusto Lopez-Claros. "But on the macroeconomic policies side, it was not that hot."

The Forum – based in Davos, Switzerland – analysed 102 countries this year, up from 80 in 2002. These accounted for 98% of global GDP. Scandinavian nations dominated the top ten, which finished as follows:

1. Finland
2. United States
3. Sweden
4. Denmark
5. Taiwan
6. Singapore
7. Switzerland
8. Iceland
9. Norway
10. Australia

Outside the top ten, Japan finished 11th, Germany 13th, the UK 15th, Canada 16th, France 26th and Italy 41st.

Full details can be found at the WEF website.

Data sourced from: World Economic Forum; additional content by WARC staff