Shanghai Could Become Asia's New York, Top Sovereign Fund Says

(Bloomberg) -- While Hong Kong and Singapore have thrived as Asian money centers, and Japan has tried to position Tokyo as the region’s most important financial hub, the world’s biggest sovereign-wealth fund says it’s Shanghai that may prove the top dog.

“In all of the regions with regard to time zones, you need to have a strong financial center, and of course in the U.S. it’s New York, and London’s going to be the one for Europe,” Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive officer of Norway’s $1 trillion fund, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York. “The question then, of course, is where in Asia do you put up most of your efforts? We have a Shanghai office -- kind of looking at that as a long-term positioning” move, he said.

Slyngstad noted, however, that Beijing and Hong Kong provide “strong competition,” and that growth in Shanghai’s financial center hasn’t been as strong as the fund had expected 10 years ago.

Shanghai’s economy overtook Hong Kong’s in 2009, though capital controls have inhibited its expansion in international finance. China tightened oversight of cross-border transactions in 2015 after its devaluation of the yuan sparked an acceleration in outflows. More recently, authorities have widened overseas access to domestic Chinese financial markets. And China in March launched its own crude-oil futures contract, denominated in yuan -- in Shanghai.

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