Israel has ranked 39 on the list of corrupt countries in 2012 with a score of 60, according to the world corruption watchdog Transparency International's annual report released Wednesday.

The results of the report indicated that corruption has become an entrenched part of the global economy: Despite the efforts of campaigners in different parts of the world, Transparency International's corruption perception index (CPI) shows that of the two-thirds of 176 nations surveyed had a score below 50, which means they are very corrupt.

"A growing outcry over corrupt governments forced several leaders from office last year, but as the dust has cleared it has become apparent that the levels of bribery, abuse of power and secret dealings are still very high in many countries," Transparency said releasing the survey.

While Denmark, Finland and New Zealand once again topped the CPI, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia were once again on the bottom rung of the index.

Based on a scale from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied with a score of 90 points. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia each had a score of just 8.

Worryingly, the survey showed that there has been little improvement in the corruption rankings of nations that have emerged from the upheavals of Arab spring. This includes both Egypt and the Middle East.

Countries at the center of the eurozone debt crisis have also continued to score poor marks in the CPI with financial and economic crisis appearing to be a key factor in helping to spur corruption.

Greece's ranking in the 2011 survey stood at 80. This year the debt-hit the nation slipped to 94 in the global league table.

Italy was ranked 72, sharing the spot with the Balkan state of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the Central African state of Sao Tome and Principe.

"Corruption is the world's most talked about problem," said Transparency's Managing Director Cobus de Swardt.

"The world's leading economies should lead by example, making sure that their institutions are fully transparent and their leaders are held accountable," de Swardt said.

"This is crucial since their institutions play a significant role in preventing corruption from flourishing globally," he said.

Western industrialized nations such as Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Sweden dominated the top ten cleanest states again this year.

But China - the world's second biggest economy and a powerhouse of global growth - continued to languish well down in the rankings at number 80, with a score of 39 points.

The world's biggest economy, the US stood at number 19, while Japan came in at the 17th position. Europe's largest economy, Germany was at 13.

With its considerable natural wealth, Russia appears to have made little headway in tackling problems of corruption. It was again a major under performer, occupying the 133 slot in the 2012 survey.