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Bangkok ranks last in economic performance in global city survey

Bangkok ranks last in economic performance in a survey of 300 cities worldwide by the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase.

Olivier Languepin

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Bangkok ranks last in economic performance in a survey of 300 cities worldwide by the Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase.

The study ranks cities by growth in employment and in economic output per person. Bangkok, Thailand, came in last, its economy wrecked by political strife.

Twenty-seven of the 50 top-performing cities were Chinese. Increasingly, strong growth occurred in the traditionally underdeveloped cities of China’s interior, rather than its booming coastal cities. Land-locked Changsha, for instance, enjoyed economic growth per person of 8.6% last year and wound up No 15 in the overall rankings.

Urban areas are driving global economic growth.

Today, the world’s 300 largest metro areas hold just 19 percent of the globe’s population yet contribute 48 percent of its GDP. The largest 600 cities are projected to inject $30 trillion into the world economy by 2025.

Urbanization has forged megacities like Shanghai, Manila and New Delhi with populations exceeding 20 million, including their surrounding metro areas. Business and investment leaders understand that urbanization is rapidly changing the world’s demographics and, in turn, redefining the traditional notion of what constitutes growth markets.

Thailand’s economy “wrecked” by years of political strife, the capital saw real gross domestic product per capital fall 0.5% from 2013-14 and employment growth shrink 1.7% during the same time, the report by the bank and the Brookings Institution said. Bangkok ranks 259th out of 300 cities for economic performance between 2009 and 2014.

Thailand’s dismal performance on the global ranking contrasted sharply with cities throughout the developing world – especially China – which dominated the top of the annual economic rankings. Macau, the Chinese territory known for casino gambling, outperformed the rest of the world to come in at No 1.

Macau has enjoyed a tourism boom, with gamblers coming to bet at more than 30 casinos, including the Venetian Macau, the world’s largest.

Cities in wealthy, developed countries tended to lag behind. Though most of the cities surveyed around the world have recovered from the Great Recession, 65% of European and 57% of North American cities have not, according to the study, which ranks cities by growth in employment and in economic output per person.

A list of the top notable cities on the list follows. They are listed by rank in the study; country; city; percent real GDP growth per capita; and employment growth in 2014.

1 Macau, Macau 8%; 4.2%

2 Turkey, Izmir 2% 6.6%

3 Turkey, Istanbul 2%, 6.5%

4 Turkey, Bursa 1.8% 6.4%

5 UAE, Dubai 4.5% 4.7%

6 China, Kunming 8.1% 2.9%

7 China, Hangzhou 7% 3.3%

8 China, Xiamen 8.6% 2.6%

…/…

296 Venezuela Caracas -3.50% 0.10%

297 Italy Naples -0.70% -1.00%

298 USA Albuquerque -2.20% -0.60%

299 Australia Adelaide -1.20% -1.10%

300 Thailand Bangkok -0.50% -1.70%

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