By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Figures from the Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo (Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, FIESP) – which provide a competitiveness index for the world’s 43 richest countries based on their performance in 2011 – have put Brazil in a disappointing 37th place, in the ‘low’ category, despite improving one place since last year. 

FIESP Competitiveness index, Low category, Brazil News
The Low group from FIESP Competitiveness index of 43 nations also contains fellow Latin economies Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, image by FIESP.

The U.S. was the clear leader, with Hong Kong and Switzerland in second and third places. Brazil’s neighbor to the south, Argentina, was awarded 29th – the highest from Latin America; Chile and Mexico placed 33rd and 34th respectively.

Most of the other BRICS members ranked higher than Brazil, which China in 22nd place, Russia is 24th and South Africa in 36th, although India came last in the index.

Eight factors were taken into consideration: domestic economy, economic liberalization, government efficiency, access to capital, infrastructure, technology, human capital and productivity; some 50,000 pieces of data are used to compile the index.

FIESP said that Brazil’s “high interest rates and bank spread” limit access to credit, “which when combined with a high (and growing) tax revenue, discourages investment,” adding that Brazil “does not show a competitive performance in their business results”, attributed mainly to the so-called ‘Brazil cost’ and exchange rates.

The countries to have made the biggest gains in the index between 2000 and 2011, according to FIESP, have increased industrial productivity and development spending, registered the most patents and invested most in education. However, there were also some losers in the index: Finland, Sweden and Japan had to settle for a lower position.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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