Singapore overtakes Hong Kong as Asia's top financial centre; 3rd in world

Singapore is expecting to see more than four million visitors in 2022. PHOTO: ST FILE

HONG KONG - Singapore has overtaken Hong Kong to become Asia's top financial centre - and the third in the world after moving up three places - according to a new report that puts New York and London in the first and second spots.

Hong Kong slipped to fourth place, battered by strict Covid-19 restrictions and an exodus of talent, while San Francisco moved up two spots to round out the Global Financial Centres Index's (GFCI) top five.

Hong Kong is struggling to revive its role as a global finance hub as it continues to follow China's lead in trying to keep Covid-19 cases to a minimum, while the rest of the world opens up.

A November summit of global bankers, designed to restore confidence in the city, has secured pledges from some 20 leading firms to send top executives. But uncertainty surrounding the easing of quarantine rules, which has kept visitor numbers low, still threatens to affect turnout.

Singapore, on the other hand, is expecting to see more than four million visitors in 2022. A slate of high-profile events, including the Milken Institute Asia Summit, the Forbes Global CEO Conference and the Singapore Grand Prix, will help to raise the country's profile as a travel destination.

The Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen all maintained spots in the GFCI's top 10, in spite of crippling Covid-19 mitigation measures that have effectively cut off the country from the rest of the world.

Other findings in the report were:

• Paris made a return to the top 10, while Tokyo tumbled to 16th place

• Sydney leapt 10 spots up the ranks to No. 13

• Dubai and Abu Dhabi reigned supreme in the Middle East, sitting in 17th and 32nd place respectively

• Russian financial centres suffered as a result of the war in Ukraine, with Moscow down 22 places to 73, and St Petersburg falling 17 places to 114

• Barbados, Xi'an and Wuhan were the bottom three locations on the list

The index, compiled by think-tanks Z/Yen Partners and the China Development Institute, ranks 119 financial centres and uses data collected from thousands of financial services professionals responding to an online questionnaire. BLOOMBERG

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