Augusta loves a good news story and there are too few of them around so here's one that is worth a read

Ireland has beaten Singapore to become the world's second most globalised nation, and the most globalised nation in the Western world according to Ernst and Young's Globalisation and the Changing World of Business report today.

It forecasts that Ireland will become the world's most globalised nation by the end of 2011, a position it will retain until at least 2014, replacing Hong Kong.

The report was released to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The current top ten most globalised nations now include (1) Hong Kong, (2) Ireland, (3) Singapore, (4) Denmark, (5) Switzerland, (6) Belgium, (7) Sweden, (8) Netherlands, (9) Hungary, (10) Finland. In 60th position, the least globalised nation on the index is Iran, closely followed by Algeria and Venezuela.

The index has five measurements to assess a country's individual global ranking including: its openness to global trade, global capital movements, global exchange of technology and ideas, global labour movements and cultural integration. Each of the criteria's weighting was validated by the 1,000 global business leaders surveyed.

The report finds that the increase in Ireland's score between 2009 and 2010 was mainly the result of greater movement of goods and services as a proportion of GDP. Total trade (exports plus imports) was around 197pc of Ireland's GDP in 2010, compared with 166pc of GDP for trade in 2009. Exports of chemicals have grown particularly strongly.

In addition to improving its overall globalisation ranking, Ireland achieved number one positions in two of the five categories measured; international exchange of technology and ideas - largely attributed to greater numbers of internet subscribers, and international exchange of labour. It was noted however, that Ireland's overall labour result fell in the last 12 months as a result of lower net migration (4.2 per 1,000 people in 2010 compared with 9.1 in 2009).

Ireland's overall globalization is forecast to improve steadily between 2010 and 2014 with the country taking the top position as a result of further increased movement of goods and services, with an estimate of trade rising to the equivalent of over 230pc of GDP in 2014. Cultural integration will also increase, with total tourism steadily rising from 3,400 per 1,000 of its population in 2010 to 3,600 in 2014.

Speaking on the Irish results, Mike McKerr, Managing Partner, Ireland, with Ernst & Young comments, "Although domestic economic conditions remain extremely challenging, we must continue to recognise that Ireland retains core strengths which are key to our recovery. Our nation's globalisation ranking demonstrates how well positioned Ireland is to maximise opportunities within international economies."

He adds, "The enormous opportunities for Ireland in emerging markets, the ever increasing power of the technology sector and a gradual international recovery will ensure that globalisation continues to deepen in Ireland over the coming years. It is also interesting to see the role of tourism, a more traditional business sector, helping to further enhance our position."

25th January 2011