66 000 South Africans in top 1% of wealth­i­est

Global Wealth re­port finds that the UK is the big­gest loser as a re­sult of cur­rency de­pre­ci­a­tion and that eco­nomic in­equal­ity has in­creased

CityPress - - Business - JUSTIN BROWN busi­ness@city­press.co.za

About 66 000 South Africans are mem­bers of the top 1% of global wealth hold­ers – and 45 000 are US dol­lar mil­lion­aires, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est an­nual Credit Suisse Global Wealth Re­port, re­leased this week.

Fig­ures show lo­cal house­hold wealth in South Africa grew ex­po­nen­tially be­fore the 2008 global eco­nomic cri­sis from $8 400 (R119 161) in 2000 to $25 800 in 2007.

“Re­cent drops in the ex­change rate have re­sulted in wealth per adult con­tin­u­ing to be well be­low its 2007 peak in US dol­lar terms,” the re­port states.

“Along with Brazil and In­done­sia, South Africa has a dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth that is roughly sim­i­lar to the dis­tri­bu­tion for the world as a whole, al­though a smaller frac­tion of in­di­vid­u­als have wealth above $100 000,” Credit Suisse said.

Africa is es­ti­mated to have 136 000 mil­lion­aires. This is ex­pected to in­crease by 44% to 196 000 mil­lion­aires by 2021.

Re­gard­ing global wealth, the re­port said over­all growth was lim­ited in 2016, con­tin­u­ing the trend that emerged in 2013 and con­trast­ing sharply with the dou­ble-digit growth rates wit­nessed be­fore the 2008 global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

“In the midterm, only mod­er­ate ac­cel­er­a­tion is ex­pected. Switzer­land once again ranked as the global leader in terms of av­er­age wealth per adult in 2016,” Credit Suisse said.

To­tal global wealth in 2016 in­creased by $3.5 tril­lion to a to­tal of $256 tril­lion – a rise in line with the rise in the world’s adult pop­u­la­tion.

By 2021, global wealth is ex­pected to climb to $334 tril­lion.

The re­port goes on to high­light the ef­fects of ad­verse cur­rency move­ments, which caused wealth to fall in ev­ery re­gion ex­cept Asia Pa­cific. “The high­est rise in wealth among in­di­vid­ual coun­tries was achieved in Ja­pan with a to­tal in­crease of $3.9 tril­lion, fol­lowed by a $1.7 tril­lion rise in the US.”

The UK was the main loser, record­ing a $1.5 tril­lion drop in house­hold wealth as a re­sult of the Brexit vote. This saw its num­ber of US dol­lar mil­lion­aires fall by 406 000.

China lost $680 bil­lion be­cause of equity price ad­just­ment and cur­rency de­pre­ci­a­tion.

In 2000, the num­ber of mil­lion­aires to­talled 12.4 mil­lion, with 96% of them liv­ing in wealthy coun­tries. “Since then, 20 mil­lion new mil­lion­aires have been added, of whom about 2.6 mil­lion – or 13% of the to­tal ad­di­tions – come from emerg­ing economies,” the re­port said.

The num­ber of mil­lion­aires is pro­jected to reach 45.1 mil­lion by 2021 and the num­ber of ul­tra-high-net­worth in­di­vid­u­als could reach 208 000, up from the cur­rent 141 000.

Turn­ing to wealth in­equal­ity – mea­sured by the share of the wealth­i­est 1% and the wealth­i­est 10% of adults as com­pared with the rest of the world’s adult pop­u­la­tion – the fig­ure con­tin­ues to rise.

“While the bot­tom half col­lec­tively own less than 1% of the to­tal wealth, the wealth­i­est top 10% own 89% of all global as­sets,” Credit Suisse said.

The re­port es­ti­mates that 3.5 bil­lion adults own 2.4% of global wealth, while 33 mil­lion mil­lion­aires – com­pris­ing less than 1% of the adult pop­u­la­tion – own 46% of the world’s riches.

The re­port has iden­ti­fied Rus­sia as the world’s most un­equal coun­try, with 74.5% of the na­tion’s wealth con­trolled by the rich­est 1%.

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