Singapore replaces Hong Kong as Asia's financial center

Singapore replaces Hong Kong as Asia's financial center

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Hong Kong has lost its title as Asia's leading financial center to Singapore in a global ranking where New York and London retain first and second place respectively.

< p>Singapore moved up three places to third position in the biannual Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) released on Thursday. The ranking assesses the competitiveness of 119 financial centers around the world.

Hong Kong has been applying a softer version of China's “zero COVID” strategy for more than two and a half years with strict sanitary measures and mandatory hotel quarantine. It cost it its title as Asia's leading financial center, plunged it into an economic crisis and precipitated the brain drain to its rivals in the region.

Conversely, Singapore raised its restrictions and reopened its borders at the beginning of the year, accepting the now endemic nature of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The city-state is hosting a series of economic conferences in the coming months. Next week the Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Singapore and the country expects four million visitors this year.

In a statement of some 600 words, the Hong Kong government has reacted to the ranking, pointing out that it scored better than the previous year.

“We will continue to listen to opinions and be bold in advancing reforms aimed at consolidating and strengthen Hong Kong's capital market and our role as an international financial center,” the government noted.

The statement made no mention of the coronavirus, nor any restrictions imposed to contain the outbreak.

San Francisco claimed fifth place in the survey, moving up two places. Shanghai, under glass at the start of the year due to coronavirus restrictions, is in sixth place, followed by Los Angeles, Beijing and Shenzhen.