Latvia is ranked 55th in terms of economic freedom worldwide, according to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom by the "Heritage Foundation" think tank and "The Wall Street Journal". Estonia is ranked 13th, up three positions from the 2012 index, whereas Lithuania is ranked 22nd, up by one spot compared to 2012, informs LETA.
Hong Kong remains the world's most free economy, followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Denmark and the United States. North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Eritrea are at the bottom of the index.
The index scores 177 world nations on various factors of economic freedom: business freedom, trade freedom, monetary freedom, freedom from government, fiscal freedom, property rights, investment freedom, financial freedom, freedom from corruption, labor freedom.
A score of 100 signifies an economic environment or set of policies that is most conducive to economic freedom. In the latest index, Hong Kong's rating is 89.3, Estonia is rated 75.3, Lithuania – 72.1, Latvia – 66.5. North Korea is rated at 1.5. The Estonian and Lithuanian economies are referred to as "mostly free", whereas the Latvian economy is "moderately free".
Europe, the second-freest region and the world’s most improved, narrowed the gap with North America in the 2013 Index. The scores of 32 countries improved, while just nine lost economic freedom. Switzerland continues to be the only “free” economy in the region, which has only two “repressed” economies that score below 50: Ukraine and Belarus.
Five European countries had notable changes in status: Georgia, Norway and the Czech Republic became “mostly free” economies. Cyprus dropped 2.8 points into the “moderately free” category, while Italy regained that status. Estonia and Poland also were among the world’s 10 most improved.