SAO PAULO --  Brazil ranks near the bottom among 14 emerging powers in terms of competitiveness, due to high capital and labor costs as well as inadequate infrastructure, according to a study published Friday.

The study, commissioned by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) and published by the Folha de Sao Paulo daily, put Brazil in 13th place ahead only of Argentina among 14 countries with similar socio-economic characteristics.

Canada ranked first, followed by South Korea, Australia, China, Spain, India, Chile, South Africa, Poland, Russia, Colombia and Mexico.

The study indicated that there was no improvement in Brazil's standing since a similar survey done in 2010.

The world's sixth largest economy, which is currently showing anemic growth, fared worst in the area of labor and capital costs, infrastructure and transport, and macro-economic environment.

The industrial sector grew a mere 0.3% in 2011, after expanding a sizzling 10.5% in 2010.

The foreign trade ministry said last week that the country posted a $186 million trade deficit in November, down from a surplus of $571 million during the same month of 2011.

Between January and November, Brazil recorded a surplus of $17.18 billion, down 33.9% compared with the same period 12 months ago.

In November, exports totaled $20.47 billion, down six percent compared with a year earlier but up 3.5% compared with October, the ministry said.

Folha quoted Renato da Fonseca, CNI executive-manager, as saying that this explains why Brazilian industry is losing markets abroad.

"The (global crisis) affected everybody, but impacted Brazilian industry with great intensity," he said. "At a time of crisis, competition becomes more acute and it is precisely the moment when the country needs to show strength so as not to lose markets."

The Brazilian government has said it hopes its recent measures to boost industry and consumption will bear fruit in the second half of this year, but companies have stressed the urgent need for structural reforms.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012