The Gulf region’s largest financial centres have failed to make it into the top rankings of a new list of global economic hubs.
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain and Riyadh struggled to make an impression in the latest Global Financial Centres Index, posing little competition to top-ranked cities London, New York and Hong Kong.
Dubai was the top ranked financial centre in the Gulf, placed 29th out of a total of 77 economic hubs covered.
Its ranking was seven places higher than last year, meaning it regained the title of the top Gulf centre from Qatar.
Dubai's rating of 641 was 19 better than its previous score but still fell well short of top-ranked London's total of 781.
Dubai's score was boosted by a top five ranking in a category of where international companies may set up a new office in the next few years.
Qatar slumped eight places to 38th on the list with a score of 630 (down six on the previous year).
Abu Dhabi, a new entry in the list, was the third best ranked Gulf financial centre at 48th with a score of 618, followed by Bahrain which was ranked 57th.
The Gulf kingdom fell two places on last year although its score of 600 was four better despite the impact of the uprisings in the country during 2011.
Riyadh was the lowest ranked financial centre in the Gulf at 70th, down four places, with a score of 572 which was three points lower than the last year.
The report said: "Of the four Middle Eastern centres in the GFCI, Dubai has overtaken Qatar to regain the status of leading Middle Eastern centre.
"We believe that Qatar has strong underlying fundamentals to challenge Dubai. Abu Dhabi is a new entrant to the GFCI and has come in just above Bahrain."
While London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo were the top five financial hubs in the world, St Petersburg, Budapest, Bahama, Reykjavik, Athens filled the bottom five places.
The past trend of large rises in the ratings of Asia/Pacific centres paused this year with Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei and Shenzhen all declining.
"We believe that these results in Asia are just an interlude in the long-term trend of the increasing importance of the region rather than a fundamental change in fortunes," the report added.
It said the recent crisis of the Euro has changed the balance of interest within the Eurozone with the capital cities of the weaker Euro economies clearly suffering.
Dublin, Milan, Madrid, Lisbon and Athens were all down in the latest list while Frankfurt and Paris both rose in the rankings.
The Global Financial Centres Index is compiled by London-based think tank Z/Yen Group.
The rankings award points based on interviews with financial services professionals, covering points such as competitiveness, infrastructure and market access.