Singapore is still the world’s second freest economy in the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, although the city-state saw a 1.6-point drop in its Index score from the previous year.
“Economic growth has slowed in Singapore, but the city’s openness to global trade and investment continues to provide a solid basis for economic dynamism,” wrote the editors of the report, which tracked the performance of 178 countries.
Rival Hong Kong remains in top spot due to its open markets, strong property rights and highly competitive fiscal policies.
New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia round out the top five rankings on the Index, which is published annually by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.
The 2016 Index shows a third consecutive year of improvement in the Asia-Pacific. Of the 42 regional countries monitored, the scores of 22 increased, 19 declined, and one stayed the same.
Although the region has four of the world’s five freest economies, it is also home to eight of the most repressed, including Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan and North Korea, the report noted.
Meanwhile, India and China are ranked 123rd and 144th respectively in the world. Both remain “unfree”.
“Over the past year, China’s economy has undergone a period of financial market volatility and economic slowdown.
“Deep-seated structural problems, including continued over-reliance on public investment and exports for growth, a state-controlled financial sector, and regulatory inefficiency, have become more acute,” added the report.