Hong Kong maintained its position as the world's freest economy for the sixteenth consecutive year, the latest study by American conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal showed on Wednesday.
Four Asia-Pacific countries sit atop the global rankings. Hong Kong is closely followed by Singapore, while Australia and New Zealand retain their places at third and fourth, respectively.
The United States fell two places to eighth and was stripped of its "free" status. Canada now boasts North America's freest economy at seventh.
Among other major economies, the United Kingdom came in at eleventh, Japan nineteenth, and Germany twenty-third.
The index of economic freedom covers 183 countries around the world, ranking 179 of them with an economic freedom score based on 10 measures of economic efficiency, regulatory efficiency, the rule of law, and competitiveness.