UNMARKED by fanfare - or the tiresome champagne toasts in the stock exchange visitors' gallery for that matter - turnover on the local equity market has topped $1,000 billion for the year. This unheralded but momentous landmark for the local market was achieved in the last few trading days of November, which was itself a record turnover month. The value of shares traded in November topped $155 billion; and the final figure for the month depends on adjustments for late and uncompleted sales. That was better than the previous record of $130 billion in October, and took the total value of shares traded for the 11 months to November's end to more than $1,015 billion. The first three trading days of December have already produced $15 billion in turnover, and if this rate continues annual turnover will top $1,125 billion. This will put the value of shares traded for the year up 60 per cent on 1992's $700 billion turnover, which was double the 1991 level of $350 billion. The number of shares traded for the year, as opposed to their dollar value, and the number of trades on the market will also be records. These levels reflect both local interest and the belated ''discovery'' of the market in recent months by a new breed of cash-rich global fund managers. However, despite these turnover figures for the year there is unlikely to be any effort to highlight them by the vested interests involved. For their part, the share brokers involved in the market are unwilling to focus on the huge increases in revenue they are receiving as a result of the big increase in market turnover. The stock exchange also has little interest in promoting its own prosperity except in the vaguest of terms. Together, they have both been continuously pressuring the Government to further reduce the 0.3 per cent stamp duty on share transactions. The Government, for its part, is unlikely to want to highlight the market's prosperity because of the record stamp duty it is still collecting despite having cut the rate during the past three years. With the stock exchange setting records in prices and volumes this year, local share brokers are destined to have their best year in terms of overall income. Based on the lowest brokerage rate, brokers can expect this year's income to be more than $2.5 billion - a record - up from a minimum $1.75 billion last year. The figure is only an estimate based on the lowest average brokerage rate of 0.25 per cent. Many charge more than this. The figure, therefore, does not include any brokerage struck at higher rates (up to one per cent on transactions). Nor does it include brokerage on far more lucrative new share issues and placement made during the year, or any profits made by brokers trading on their own book. It is, therefore, a very conservative figure. At 0.5 per cent average brokerage, the figure would have been $5 billion, and at average one per cent in fees it would have reached $11 billion for the year. From the Government's viewpoint, it also means the Internal Revenue Department has picked up $2.5 billion in stamp duty since the fiscal year began on April 1 - and that is only for two thirds of the fiscal year at a 0.3 per cent stamp duty rate. Last year the rate was 0.4 per cent, in 1991 it was 0.5 per cent, and 0.6 per cent (the peak) in 1990. At current turnovers, the Government's full-year take from the share market will be more than $3.75 billion, or more than fiscal 1992, despite the lower stamp duty rate. During 1992, share brokers rode an income wave unrivalled in the history of the local share market - and they are still doing so. Just consider these figures: Monthly turnover this year has so far averaged $93 billion compared with some $58.4 billion a month last year, $27.8 billion a month in 1991, $24.8 billion a month in 1990 and $25 billion a month in 1989; In three of the 11 months in which trading has been completed this year, turnover was above $100 billion, and in a further three months it was above $90 billion; In the history of the stock exchange, turnover was more than $90 billion in only one month before this year - May last year; In only one month this year - January - was turnover below $50 billion; Monthly turnover reached an all-time record of more than $155 billion last month; Monthly average turnover this year has been running at three times the boom-then-bust levels of 1987 (before the October crash) and almost double last year's rate. As the year comes to an end, trading volume and value have eased slightly from the peak in October and November, but they are still well ahead of the average for the previous year. Despite the political difficulties facing Hong Kong, it seems likely the share market will continue to be healthy for the brokerage community throughout 1994. Market capitalisation has more than quadrupled to more than $2,400 billion (US$310 billion) from just over $600 billion since the beginning of 1990. Most of that is due to the increase in share prices on the market, but some is also the result of the rush of new listings (local and mainland) on to the market. This makes Hong Kong clearly the second biggest market in Asia, after the now lacklustre Tokyo market, overtaking Australia and Taiwan last year. It is also the most liquid market in the region, adding to its attractiveness to foreign brokers and fund managers. Almost half of the market capitalisation is accounted for by the top 10 issues and almost 65 per cent by the top 20. Some 18 per cent is accounted for by Hongkong Bank Holdings (excluding its Hang Seng subsidiary) and Hongkong Telecom. Based on the liquidity, the negative real interest rate, the buoyancy in trade and the China market and support from overseas fund managers the market outlook for 1994 seems healthy. If there are clouds on the horizon, they are distant ones. The first is political: the market had discounted the outcome of Sino-British talks on Hong Kong's political future, at least until this week's events. The political risk situation historically factored into the local market had been reduced markedly, especially by foreign investors, including major global fund managers. Whether this continues depends not only on Sino-British relations over Hong Kong, but also continued political stability in China. The other factors are all economic and trade related: most-favoured nation status and other Sino-US trade issues; uncertainties about continued Western economic growth; the difficult situation in Japan; and continued good growth in East Asia (excluding Japan). None of this immediately bothers share brokers, of course, because even if the market did break downwards during the current new year they have some breathing space. The important fact to keep in mind about share brokers is that they do not much mind whether a share market is going up or down, as long as turnover is high. And right now they are clearly delighted. After all, it's turnover that makes their money, even if it is a rising market that really attracts investors or speculators to play the game in earnest. Ian Perkin is chief economist with the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. The views expressed in this column are his own and may not necessarily reflect chamber policy.