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Despite declarations last year that Israel would work hard to be a better place to do business in 2011, the World Bank's annual Doing Business report released last week knocked the country down two rungs to 34th place.

"Doing Business in a More Transparent World" assesses regulations affecting domestic companies in 183 economies; it ranks them in 10 areas such as starting a business, resolving insolvencies, receiving credit and cross-border trade. This year's figures cover regulations measured from June 2010 through May 2011.

Israel's strong points were the protection of investors and improvements in international trade, but it received low grades for the way it grants building permits and registers property.

This year, Singapore led the table, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United States and Denmark. South Korea was a new entrant to the top 10. Chad was at the bottom of the rankings.