The world is today a much wealthier place than it was 10 years ago. The Global Wealth Report says the global wealth currently held by 4.4 billion adults has increased 72 percent since 2000 to reach $195 trillion.
The inaugural report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, launched in Zurich on Friday, global wealth will grow 61 per cent to reach $315 trillion in another five years. The report defines wealth as the value of financial assets and non-financial assets (mainly real estate), minus household debt.
The report says that the growth is being buoyed by the middle segment of the wealth pyramid of one billion individuals in the fastest-growing economies of the world. They currently hold one-sixth or $32 trillion of global wealth. Most of these people are from the Asia-Pacific region - roughly 60 percent or 587 million individuals.
China is the third-largest wealth generator in the world, with total household wealth of $16.5 trillion, behind only the US ($54.6 trillion) and Japan ($21.0 trillion). If trends continue, total household wealth in China could rise 111 percent to $35 trillion by 2015. China is 35 percent ahead of the wealthiest European country, France.
The head of the (per adult) wealth league table is dominated by smaller, open economies – Singapore, Switzerland, Norway, as well as Australia and France. The laggards are Argentina, Japan and Iceland. Notable cases of emerging wealth have been found in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Chile, Malaysia and South Africa while “frontier” wealth is evident in Colombia, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
There are over 1,000 billionaires in the world today, with 245 of them in Asia Pacific, 230 in Europe, and 500 in North America. The total number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) (average wealth per adult above $50 million) is around 80,000 globally. Of the 24 million other HNWIs (average wealth per adult of $1 million to $50 million), just over 800,000 are in China, around 170,000 in India, and over four million in the rest of Asia Pacific.
Switzerland and Norway are the richest in terms of average wealth per adult, at $372,692 and $326,530 respectively; followed by Australia with $320,909, and Singapore with $255,488.
At the base of the wealth pyramid there are three billion people with average wealth per adult of below $10,000, of which 1.1 billion own less than $1,000 and 307 million are in India.
Wealth has also surged in other emerging markets in Asia Pacific, especially India and Indonesia. The total wealth of India has tripled $3.5 trillion while Indonesia’s has grown five-fold to $1.8 trillion. By 2015, India’s wealth could nearly double to $6.4 trillion.