Look East!

Apr 26th, 2008 | By | Category: International

Which country is the world’s greatest economic power?

Since World War II, there would have been only one possible answer to the question: the United States.

So, where are the world’s biggest banks?

The United States? It would seem a reasonable assumption, wouldn’t it?

But just as the United States eclipsed the powers that preceded it, so it too is now being eclipsed.

An advertisement for Spain’s Banco Santander in today’s Financial Times makes the truth graphically clear. It lists the top eight banks in the world by their international market capitalisation ranking as at 31st March 2008.

The valuations are expressed in Euro, which would favour Banco Santander, given the sharp rise in the value of the Euro against the United States dollar and Sterling, but it is neither in Europe or the United States that the future lies. Banco Santander’s figures are from Bloomberg and are expressed as billions of Euro,

1 ICBC (China) €175,341
2 HSBC (UK) €123,769
3 China CB (China) €111,632
4 Bank of America (USA) €106,524
5 Bank of China (China) €100,885
6 J P Morgan (USA) €92,277
7 Banco Santander (Spain) €78,929
8 Citigroup (USA) €70,541


How many ordinary people in the street have any idea of the way things have gone? How many have any idea where the power now lies?

Our Western media remains fixated with whether Obama or Clinton will face McCain but what the financial statistics are saying is that it is increasingly unimportant who wins; that watching the presidential race on this side of the Atlantic will become like those on the other side of the Atlantic watching the British Royal Family – fascinating, but not very important.

Changed times.

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  1. I’m not surprised. Although I was surprised to find out that HSBC was a British bank started to finance Imperial interests in Hong Kong and China – Apparently it owns 70% of the Hang Seng Bank! Just wait until India becomes an economic force!

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