While there was not much change at the top of the 30th edition of the Global Financial Centres Index, two African centres join the ranks for the first time. 

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New York has maintained the title as the world’s leading financial centre in the Global Financial Centres Index (GCFI) for the third year in a row, after overtaking London in September 2018. However, in the 30th edition of the ranking both leading centres saw minor declines in their total rating, by two and three points, respectively.

Asia-Pacific centres Hong Kong and Singapore, in third and fourth place, saw much higher drops in their ratings (25 points), while Shanghai fell from third place in the GFCI 29 to sixth in this ranking, following a 29-point fall in points.

Produced by Z/Yen and the China Development Institute, the biannual ranking tracks 126 centres based on 146 instrumental factors. In GFCI 30, the main index increased from 114 to 116 with the addition of Kigali (94) and Lagos (102), which join the index for the first time.

Overall, the average rating fell 12.9 points (2.1%). While a small change, it is the third consecutive contraction in the average rating. Only 13 centres in the top 50 saw increases in rating points, eight of which are western European cities.

Despite ratings reductions, North American centres within the top 50 performed strongly in the ranking, with seven of the nine centres either maintaining or improving their ranking. Asia-Pacific, on the other hand, saw nine of the 16 centres in the top 50 fall in the ranking, including five Chinese centres: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Qingdao, in 38th position, was the only Chinese centre to buck the trend, moving up four positions in the GCFI 30.

San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Paris entered the top 10 in the GFCI 30, as a result of ranking drops in leading Asia-Pacific centres.

In Africa, Casablanca continues to be the leading centre, while Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Nairobi increased their ratings by more than 20 points. In Latin America, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo were the only centres to improve their ranking and ratings.

In addition to the main ranking, the GCFI rates 109 centres on their fintech offering for the fifth year. Overall, fintech ratings were generally lower than in previous editions of the index. This year New York and Shanghai retained first and second positions, while London leapt two places to third place, overtaking Beijing and Shenzhen.

Kuala Lumpur gained the most of the top 50 fintech centres in the ranking, moving up 29 places to 29th, while Madrid moved up 27 spots to 24th and Calgary jumped 25 positions to 47th in the world. Another Canadian city, Vancouver, saw the biggest drop in position among the top 50 – falling 11 places to 25th.

Joy Macknight is editor of The Banker. Follow her on Twitter @joymacknight

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