Offshore Banking Centres: Prospects and Issues
The total cross-border banking assets had risen from $2.7 trillion in 1982 to over $6.0 trillion in 1992. Expansion of existing international banking and financial centres in recent decades has been accompanied by the emergence of a number of new financial centres and regions around the globe and the trend is expected to continue. Concomitant with the expansion of international financial markets, the international banking system has experienced a robust growth. The international financial flows at the close of the past decade were estimated to be in excess of $200 trillion per year, about fifty times as much as the total world trade volume of $4 trillion. Cross-border financial flows are expected to grow further in the current decade as a result of the economic integration of Europe, the shift of the communist bloc countries into market economies, the gradual revitalization of Latin America, opening of new markets in Asia, and the globalization of trade and removal of trade barriers in North America. The implications of this growth for banking centres are enormous. Hence, in this chapter, we evaluate the prospects and issues with regard to the growth of offshore banking centres in the coming decade.
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