For the second year in a row, Bloomberg Rankings presents its exclusive analysis of countries around the world based on how attractive they are to business. With its relatively low cost of starting a business, as well as its import and export efficiencies, among other factors, Hong Kong again takes top honors. The U.S. moves up a notch from last year to second place, and Japan jumps from seventh to No. 3.
For this study, Bloomberg Rankings analyzed data from 11 sources. In all, 161 nations were ranked on six broad criteria that included the cost of starting a business, the cost of labor and materials and the cost of moving goods. The study also considered each country's level of global economic integration, the "readiness" of its consumer base to participate in economic activity and "less tangible" costs such as inflation and accounting adaptability.
Again, the so-called BRIC countries make a relatively poor showing. China drops to 24th place from 19th last year. India, Russia and Brazil don't even clear the top 50, ranking Nos. 54, 56 and 61, respectively.
For a view of the top 20 countries, click ahead. The methodology can be found on the last slide.
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Best Countries for Business 2013