As the world’s economic centre of gravity shifts south and east from Europe and North America, new and powerful financial markets are emerging. In our latest top five we look at some of the most important regional hubs.
Brazil boasts the largest economy in South and Central America, and its importance is reflected in the emergence of São Paulo as a major commercial and financial centre. The city was built on the coffee trade, which accounts for around 30 percent of Brazil’s gross domestic product. The country’s main financial market, BM&F Bovespa, is the largest equity and derivatives market in Latin America and, according to the market’s owners, the fourth largest listed exchange in the world. São Paulo itself is a densely populated city of 40 million people and while it may lack the glamour of Rio it remains an exciting and vibrant place in which to work.
The Chinese government has declared its intention of transforming Shanghai into a world financial centre by 2020. It’s an ambitious goal that China’s economic strength seems set to fulfill. According to Reuters, Shanghai’s stock market has a capitalization of US$2.7 trillion dollars and more than 800 listed companies, so it is already a major player in equities. However, unlike Hong Kong, Shanghai does not yet trade financial futures.
Hong Kong probably stands to suffer most from the emergence of Shanghai as a financial centre. As things stand, the former British colony has a lower market capitalization than its rival (US$2.3 trillion, according to Reuters), but it has more listed companies (more than 1,000). The city is also strong in international bond trading and financial futures. A long-established destination for western financiers, Hong Kong remains a hugely exciting city, both socially and professionally.
Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) is the natural home of the island country’s major listed companies, but it is also increasingly attracting international business. The exchange offers an integrated platform for trading securities (currently accounting for around 75 percent of its revenues) and derivatives (25 percent). Singapore is another popular destination for overseas financiers and business people, not least because it is known to be business-friendly and can boast excellent infrastructure.
While Mumbai has yet to make it into the premier league of global financial centers, its importance to the development of India’s rapidly growing economy means it cannot be ignored. The city of Mumbai plays host to two stock markets, the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India. It is also the city where the world’s major banks tend to locate their Indian headquarters.