SINGAPORE has retained its No 2 spot on the latest World Bank rankings for ease of doing business, coming after New Zealand for the third straight year.
In the ranking of 190 economies, Singapore was one of three Asian economies in the top 10, with Hong Kong in fourth place and South Korea in fifth. Denmark ranked third, with Georgia, Norway, the United States, the United Kingdom and Macedonia rounding out the top 10.
Singapore's score of 85.24 was up marginally from 84.97 in the previous year. In its Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform report, the World Bank noted two reforms which improved Singapore's performance: abolishing corporate seals, which made it easier to start a business, and introducing a consolidated law on voluntary mediation, making it easier to enforce contracts.
Those were also the two indicators on which Singapore ranked highest: third overall for starting a business, and top for enforcing contracts.
Areas where Singapore fell behind include resolving insolvency (27th), getting credit (32nd) and trading across borders (45th). Singapore's ranking in trading across borders was hurt mainly by its relatively high costs for border compliance.
Globally, the latest report saw a record 314 business reforms in 128 economies over the past year. China was one of the top 10 improvers, jumping more than 30 spots to 46th place, on the back of reforms such as streamlining the process of obtaining a building permit, and improving access to electricity in Beijing and Shanghai.
Malaysia also made a significant improvement, moving up nine places to No 15. The report is based on data as of May 1, 2018, before Malaysia's general election this year.