London is the world's top center of commerce, according to a study by MasterCard rating leading cities by how they influence the global economy.

The British capital eclipsed second-place New York, which was held back by bond market regulations that affect the volume of listed sales, a more volatile U.S. currency, and by a U.S. economy that was considered to be less stable economy than Britain's economy, MasterCard said.

Tokyo came third in the inaugural MasterCard Worldwide Centres of Commerce index, ahead of Chicago. Hong Kong, ranked fifth, pipped arch-rival Singapore in sixth place because it had a better business climate and a greater volume of equity transactions.

The index, which MasterCard plans to release annually and which covers 63 cities, was compiled from research by a panel of top independent economic, urban development and social science academics from around the world.

It rated cities according to their legal and political framework, economic stability, ease of doing business there, financial flows, standing as a business center and as a center of knowledge and information.

Sydney was ranked 14 while Dubai, as a regional air and cargo traffic hub and with a flexible business climate, was named the leading center in the Middle East and ranked 37th in the index.

China's financial center, Shanghai, was ranked 32nd while Beijing was in 46th place, one notch below India's business capital Mumbai.

MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index: Top 10 Rankings (scores out of a possible 100 points):

London 77.79

New York 73.80

Tokyo 68.09

Chicago 67.19

Hong Kong 62.32

Singapore 61.95

Frankfurt 61.34

Paris 61.19

Seoul 60.70

Los Angeles 59.05

Amsterdam 57.30