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World's Millionaire Population Rises, China Overtakes US For Super-Wealthy - Credit Suisse

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , October 22, 2019


A research institute for the banking group produced an annual report tracking who is winning, or losing ground, in the rankings of the world's wealthy. One finding that it highlighted was that inequality has declined, not risen.

Switzerland and the US come first and second in terms of increases in wealth per adult, respectively, while the total number of millionaires rose by 1.1 million worldwide to reach 46.8 million this year, according to an annual report by Credit Suisse. The study also suggests that wealth inequality within nations has declined since the start of the century, bucking conventional wisdom.

The Alpine state saw a $17,790 gain in wealth per adult, followed by the US ($11,980), Japan ($9,180) and the Netherlands ($9,160). The main loser was Australia (down $28,670) largely due to exchange rate effects, with other significant losses in Norway (down $7,520), Turkey (down $5,230) and Belgium (down $4,330).

Global wealth grew during the past year by 2.6 per cent to $360 trillion and wealth per adult reached a record high of $70,850, 1.2 per cent above the level of mid-2018. The US, China and Europe contributed the most towards global wealth growth with $3.8 trillion, $1.9 trillion and $1.1 trillion respectively.

Out of the rise in global millionaires, the US added more than half of this number – 675,000 new millionaires – to its already-sizeable stock, the report said. 

On the flipside, the decline in average wealth in Australia resulted in 124,000 fewer millionaires, but losses were relatively modest elsewhere, such as down 27,000 in the UK and 24,000 in Turkey, the report, produced by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, the bank’s think tank, said.

The data, while not without examples of problems in some countries, paints a relatively rosy picture for wealth managers hoping that recent economic uncertainties and geopolitical issues such as US-China trade could squeeze the pipeline for clients. Beyond all the noise, however, it looks as if the numbers will be positive for wealth creation this year. The MSCI World Index of developed countries’ equities shows total returns, in dollars, of 18.5 per cent (based on capital growth added to reinvested dividends).

World Wealth Map 2019.


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