City-state Singapore is the cheapest place to do business among industrialized countries in the world, according to a new study by consultants KPMG. The firm ranked countries after measuring 27 cost components, including labor, benefits, business facilities, taxes and utilities.
Singapore, new to the study and with a gross domestic product per capita now on par with some western European nations, was 20% cheaper than the benchmark U.S.
Other industrialized countries narrowed their cost differences since 2004. G7 countries now have costs within 8% of the U.S. results, the survey found.
Labor costs typically represented the biggest cost factor in all industries, followed by facility costs and taxes.
Canada ranked second and retained its position as the lowest-cost country among the G7 countries even as its currency strengthened.
Among European countries France and the Netherlands ranked as the most competitive, followed by Italy and Britain.
The U.S. jumped ahead to seventh spot, helped by its sagging dollar, while a weaker yen and business cost improvements pushed Japan into eighth spot this year ahead of Germany (ranked ninth).
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006