Legatum ranked the U.K. in 15th place, just behind Germany. It praised the country's "economic transformation" since the 2008 global financial crisis, but noted that its performance for health indicators like cancer survival rates and healthy life expectancy were falling when compared with peers.
Outside of Europe, New Zealand was the top performer, in 4th place overall, followed by Canada in 6th place and Australia in 7th. The top-ranked Asian country was Singapore in 17th place, with China coming in at number 53 and India at number 99.
African nations lagged towards the middle and bottom of the rankings, with South Africa the top performer in the continent, ranking 75th overall. The Central African Republic was the least prosperous country in the world, followed by Afghanistan and Haiti.
World's least prosperous countries — Legatum Prosperity Index:
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
Syria ranked 4th lowest, having plummeted since 2012 from the middle of the scoreboard. Its descent into near-civil war means the country is now ranked 3rd worst in the world for safety and security and 4th worst for personal freedom.
UBS forecast on Monday that the global economy would slightly accelerate in 2016, growing by 3.4 percent versus a forecast 3.1 percent this year.
"Just as our regionally determined upside risk scenarios tend to cluster around the hope of better U.S. growth, so our downside scenarios are more focused on the risks of a weaker China impacting the global economy and potentially associated with that some further downside to global commodity prices (given China's position as a large and generally inefficient consumer of commodities)," said a team of economists and analysts led by Paul Donovan in UBS's global outlook report.