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Canadian banks ranked soundest in the world

Canada has the world's soundest banking system, closely followed by Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia, a survey by the World Economic Forum has found as a financial crisis and bank failures shake world markets.

U.S. has fallen to No. 40 in World Economic Forum list

Canada has the world's soundest banking system, closely followed by Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia, a survey by the World Economic Forum has found as a financial crisis and bank failures shake world markets.

Britain, which once ranked in the top five, has slipped to 44th place behind El Salvador and Peru, after its government pledged the equivalent of $97 billion Cdn this week to bolster bank balance sheets.

The United States, where some of Wall Street's biggest financial names have collapsed in recent weeks, rated only 40th, just behind Germany, at 39th, and smaller states such as Barbados, Estonia and even Namibia, in southern Africa.

On Thursday, the U.S. was considering buying a slice of debt-laden banks to inject trust back into lending between financial institutions now too wary of one another to lend.

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report based its findings on opinions of executives and assigned banks a score between 1.0 (insolvent and possibly requiring a government bailout) and 7.0 (healthy, with sound balance sheets).

Canadian banks received a score of 6.8, just ahead of Sweden (6.7), Luxembourg (6.7), Australia (6.7) and Denmark (6.7).

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U.K. banks collectively scored 6.0, narrowly behind the United States, Germany and Botswana, all with 6.1. France, in 19th place, scored 6.5 for soundness while Switzerland's banking system scored the same in 16th place, as did Singapore (13th).

The ranking index was released as central banks in Europe, the U.S., China, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland slashed interest rates in a bid to end panic selling on markets and restore trust in the shaken banking system.

With files from Reuters

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