Skyscrapers – leading indicators Premium

Londoners can breathe a massive sigh of relief: the Shard has been overtaken as Europe’s tallest skyscraper by Mercury City, the Russian billionaire Igor Kesaev’s tower in Moscow’s financial district. With luck, the four short months the Shard was number one will go unnoticed by the economic gods, who have a long history of punishing countries with the highest buildings.

Barclays’ Skyscraper index shows that a strong correlation has existed between building the world’s tallest building and financial crises for over 140 years: New York 1930, Kuala Lumpur 1997, Dubai 2010, and so on. But as well as pure height, the number of skyscrapers built is also predictive. That should worry China, which will complete over half of the world’s 125-odd skyscrapers under construction in the next six years.

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