2009 Capital Access Index:
Best Markets for Access to Business Capital
Apr 01, 2010

For the second year in a row, Canada leads the Milken Institute Capital Access Index, an annual ranking of entrepreneurial access to capital around the world.

The 2009 Capital Access Index captures the data and analysis of the global capital markets in 2008, during one of the worst credit crunches for businesses since the Great Depression. The index helps businesses and entrepreneurs discern which countries' capital markets have the most breadth, depth and vitality.

The report notes that the dramatic plunge in value of corporate bond issuance (down 60 percent) and the world equity market (down by half) had the expected result on industrialized nations. But while growth in emerging markets slowed, it did not sink. Emerging markets were better positioned than their U.S. and European counterparts because of larger market reserves, lower debt burdens and stronger growth rates, due in large part to increased internal demand.

The Top Ten
The nations with the best access to business capital in 2008 (previous year's ranking in parentheses) are the following:

1. Canada (1)
2. Hong Kong (2)
3. United Kingdom (4)
4. Singapore (5)
5. United States (6)
6. Switzerland (3)
7. Sweden (11)
8. Australia (9)
9. Netherlands (7)
10. Finland (10)

The BRIC nations

  • Brazil moved from No. 51 to No. 49, with significant advances in bond market development and alternative sources of capital.
  • Russia ranked 54th, compared to 58th in last year's index. The country saw improvements in all index components except for financial and banking institutions and equity market development.
  • India moved from No. 47 to No. 44. It saw declines in macroeconomic environment and institutional environment scores but made progress in alternative sources of capital and in international funding.
  • China skyrocketed 13 positions, from No. 45 to No. 32, due to sound economic growth and a robust banking sector that helped stabilize the economy, even though trade surplus started to shrink toward the end of the year.

The Top Half All 27 industrialized countries are included in the top half of the CAI rankings. Rounding out the top half are 13 developing European countries, seven Middle Eastern countries, five developing Asian countries, six Latin American countries, and three African countries. Most industrialized countries saw a significant drop in their equity market development scores. This is caused by either higher volatility or fewer new listings.

The Bottom Half Of the 61 countries in the bottom half of this year's CAI rankings, 30 were African countries. Almost all suffered from further declines in their already dismal institutional environments, emphasizing the need for these countries to improve their economic infrastructure to provide a stable platform for private business financing.