Asia is home to the world’s freest _ and most repressed _ economies, but Europe ranked highest as a region in terms of economic freedom, an annual report released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal said.
While the world as a whole made little progress toward greater economic freedom, there were some surprising improvements by countries such as Mauritius and Mongolia, the survey found.
Hong Kong and Singapore retained their No. 1 and No. 2 rankings respectively on the annual Index of Economic Freedom for the 14th successive year. Both port cities benefit from low taxes and liberalized trade. Hong Kong, however, saw its score dip slightly due to higher inflation and greater tax revenues.
European countries accounted for half of the top 20 economies considered free or mostly free, with Ireland at No. 3, Switzerland at No. 9 and Britain at No. 10. The U.S. ranked No. 5, and Canada ranked 6th.