Aust ranked 3rd most free world economy

Australia is ranked the third most free economy in the world despite its score falling slightly in the past year, a new report says.

Conservative American think-tank the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal released its 2013 index of economic freedom on Thursday US time (Friday AEDT).

It ranked Australia third of 185 nations on economic freedom for the fifth consecutive year.

Australia's score of 82.6 was 0.5 points lower than in 2012, dragged down by declines in labour freedom and the management of government spending despite improvements in freedom from corruption and for business, the report said.

The score placed Australia among five nations ranked as free, with Hong Kong topping the index for the 19th straight year, followed by Singapore, New Zealand in fourth and Switzerland.

"Australia's strong commitment to economic freedom has resulted in a policy framework that encourages impressive economic resilience," the index said.

The index uses 10 economic measures - property rights, freedom from corruption, fiscal freedom, government spending, regulatory efficiency for business, labour and monetary policy (interest rates), and open markets - trade, investment and financial.

The best rankings for Australia were for financial freedom (first), property rights (second) and freedom from corruption (eighth).

But the worst rankings for Australia were for fiscal freedom (148th), government spending (102nd) and trade (38th).

Australia's score for labour freedom, which looks at the legal and regulatory framework of a nation's labour market, fell 7.1 points to 83.5 in 2013.

The index defines economic freedom as individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state.

Market Data

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    0.9327-0.0005-0.05%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5555-0.0003-0.05%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6753-0.0003-0.05%
    AUDEUR=X
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