Denmark leads, with high 4 from Europe

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.

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Four of investors’ top five favorite destinations are in Europe, according to the Milken Institute’s Global Opportunity Index (GOI) report.

Denmark topped this year’s rankings, scoring first on business perception, a measure of the ease of doing business in a country as well as other regulatory metrics.

The index factors in 100 indicators under five categories: business perception, economic fundamentals, financial services, institutional framework, and international standards and policy.

Denmark ranked third on economic fundamentals which capture macroeconomic performance, workforce talent, and “efforts to create a resilient and sustainable economy and society,” according to the report.

These are the top five countries that investors find attractive, according to the latest GOI report:

  1. Denmark
  2. Sweden
  3. Finland
  4. United States
  5. United Kingdom

The U.S. moved up one spot to the fourth position this year, ranking highest in the institutional framework category, which tracks the protection a country’s institutions offer to investors’ rights and their assets.

The country ranked fifth in the financial services category, which evaluates the overall financial system in a nation as well as the accessibility to finance.

Finland which placed third overall, was ranked highest in the international standards and policy category that evaluates economic openness and the extent to which a country’s policies are aligned with global regulatory and intellectual property protection standards.

Emerging and developing Asia performed well compared to other E&D regions, drawing more than half (53.2%) of the funds flowing into E&D countries between 2018 and 2022, according to the report.

“While advanced economies provide stability, investors seeking high-growth returns continue to show interest in emerging and developing economies,” Maggie Switek, Senior Director of the research department at The Milken Institute, said in a statement.

Among Asian E&D economies, Malaysia emerged as investors’ favorite and ranked 27th globally.

It has the “best investment conditions” among all E&D economies, and ranks well on institutional frameworks, partially due to the fact that the country “has very strong investors’ rights,” Switek said.

Malaysia is also now the sixth largest chip exporter in the world and packages 23% of all U.S. chips, according to The New York Times.

Overall, E&D regions “offer attractive opportunities to investors interested in emerging markets with favorable growth potential,” the report said.

Rising tensions between the U.S. and China, however, have hit inflows to Asian E&D economies, down 75.4% in 2022, the report added.

The world’s second-largest economy, China, came in at 39th place. “That’s actually pretty high,” Switek told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia, adding it is still an emerging and developing Asian economy according to the IMF.

“While China attracted more than half of total capital inflows to E&D Asia between 2018 and 2022, its appeal to investors appears to have decreased recently, likely due to rising geopolitical tensions with the US,” the report said.

Here are the top 10 E&D Asian countries on the Global Opportunity Index:

  1. Malaysia
  2. Thailand
  3. China
  4. Indonesia
  5. Vietnam
  6. India
  7. Mongolia
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Philippines
  10. Cambodia

Singapore topped Asia as investors’ favorite country in the region, and grabbed the 14th place globally. Hong Kong and Japan ranked 15th and 16th, respectively, in Asia.

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