The competitiveness of Switzerland's economy has again been ranked second only to that of the United States in a World Economic Forum (WEF) annual survey.
WEF awarded Switzerland top marks for innovation and the quality of infrastructure in its 2007/8 Global Competitiveness Report. But the country was held back by the relatively small size of its economy.
It is the second year in a row that the Swiss have come runners-up in the poll of 12,000 business leaders, conducted by the Geneva-based organisation.
WEF asked respondents to rank 134 countries based on factors that promoted economic growth, such as the availability of talent, transparency of governance, infrastructure and openness to innovation.
Leaders were also impressed with the sophistication of Switzerland's financial markets, the soundness of its banks and the quality of the country's scientific research institutions.
WEF said the findings were not greatly influenced by the current financial crisis that has hit the US particularly hard. But it warned that this could change next year as the effects of the turbulence contaminate the economy as a whole.
"As the crisis spills over into the real economy, we may see a weakening of the assessment in some categories over the next year or two, in particular with respect to macroeconomic stability or public institutions," said Margareta Drzeniek Hanouz, one of the report's authors.