THE annual study of national brands for 2019 has shown that Ireland’s value has increased by the fastest rate in Western Europe.

The UK’s brand, by contrast, has hardly risen at all with the blame being put on the Brexit chaos of the last three years.

Every year, the Brand Finance company – one of the world’s leading brand consultancies – values 5000 of the world’s biggest brands.

Countries are assigned a brand value in line with the classification of developed and developing economies as defined in the United Nations’ World Economic Situation and Prospects.

Brand Finance’s list of the top 100 country brands shows that the USA is again the world’s top brand by value but China is catching up fast and Ireland is the best performer in Western Europe.

According to Brand Finance, the UK has recorded a mere 3% increase in brand value over the past year, to US$3.9 trillion, dropping down to fifth place in the global nation brands ranking – Scotland’s brand is not calculated separately.

Brand Finance said: “The uncertainty around Brexit has caused slower growth than predicted both in the UK and on the continent.

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“Since 2015 – the year before the disruption of status quo through the Brexit referendum – the UK’s nation brand value and the combined brand value of the other EU member states have only grown 19% and 32% respectively.

“By contrast, in the same period, Ireland’s nation brand value has more than doubled, increasing by 110%.

“Confirming strong performance, Ireland is the fastest-growing nation brand in Western Europe in 2019, up 12% to $604 billion, while all other players in the region have recorded a minimal uptick or a decline.”

David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance, commented: “The UK economy continues to remain stagnant, amid the turmoil and instability in the lead up to the deadline at the end of the month.

“No matter which way the Brexit pendulum swings, the result will no doubt have far-reaching repercussions for the UK and the EU, above and beyond the economy.”

Topping the ranking again this year, the nation brand value of the USA stands at $27.8tn, but China continues to grow at a very healthy rate, recording an impressive 40% increase in brand value to $19.5tn.

Building on its solid performance in previous years, China is closing the gap behind long-standing leader the US, which has recorded a brand value growth of just 7% over the past year.

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The difference in value between the two nations' brands has dropped from $12tn last year to just over $8tn in 2019.

David Haigh commented: “China is undergoing a meteoric rise on the global stage, rivalling the traditional nation brand powerhouses in the West.

“Despite economic and political challenges, China’s nation brand value has grown by 40%, consistently outpacing the US and other major economies.”