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UBS-PwC: Wealth of World's Billionaires Surged 19 Percent in 2017

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By    |   Tuesday, 30 October 2018 02:35 PM

The world’s billionaires’ wealth reportedly surged 19 percent last year in its biggest-ever increase, hitting $8.9 trillion shared among 2,158 individuals.

More than 40 of the 179 new billionaires created last year inherited their wealth, RT.com reported, citing a joint report by UBS and PwC.

“A major wealth transition has begun. Over the past five years, the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17 percent each year, to reach $117 billion in 2017. In that year alone, 44 heirs inherited more than a billion dollars each,” the report said.

The study found that the number of billionaires grew 9 percent to 2,158 in 2017, up from 1,979 in the previous year. The report said women still represent a small portion of the total number of billionaires overall (11 percent) but their rise could indicate a steady shift in wealth creation.

Highlights of the report:

  • Global billionaire growth of 19 percent was lower than growth in the MSCI World Index, which rose by 25 percent. The biggest growth sectors were consumer & retail, which rose by USD 360 billion, technology (USD 250 billion) and materials (USD 180 billion).
  • The Americas region is still home to the largest concentration of billionaire wealth, which in the US grew by 12 percent to USD 3.1 trillion, powered particularly by the technology and consumer & retail sectors. But wealth creation is slowing, with the US creating 53 new billionaires in 2017, compared to 87 five years ago.
  • In Europe, wealth grew 19 percent to USD 1.9 trillion. This was largely due to currency appreciation in the euro versus the dollar. In fact, the number of billionaires in the region only grew by 4 percent. Wealth transition from just five families accounted for 30 percent of the continent’s wealth expansion.
  • APAC’s share of billionaire wealth rose to USD 2.7 trillion, 30 percent of the global total, with the consumer & retail, technology and real estate sectors leading the way.
  • Chinese billionaires increased in number to 373 in 2017 from 318 in 2016 and their wealth rose by 39 percent to $1.12 trillion.
  • China minted two new billionaires a week, and Asia minted more than three billionaires a week.
  • In the Americas, wealth increased slower than the global rate at 12 percent - to $3.6 trillion but still boasts the biggest wealth concentration from the tech industry by far
  • Currency appreciation saw Western European billionaires’ wealth grow by 19 percent, but the number of billionaires rose by just 4 percent to 414
  • Less economic growth expected in the next year in the US and China, if there is a full trade war

“Over the last decade, Chinese billionaires have created some of the world’s largest and most successful companies, raised living standards. But this is just the beginning. China’s vast population, technology innovation and productivity growth combined with government support, are providing unprecedented opportunities for individuals not only to build businesses but also to change people’s lives for the better.”

“We are experiencing a new wave of entrepreneurship worldwide, with billionaires at the vanguard of innovation. They are creating jobs and prosperity, but their impact goes beyond economics. A new generation is emerging, and they see an opportunity to tackle some of the greatest environmental and societal challenges facing humankind.”

“The past 30 years have seen far greater wealth creation than the Gilded Age,” the joint report by UBS and PWC said. “That period bred generations of families in the U.S. and Europe who went on to influence business, banking, politics, philanthropy and the arts for more than 100 years. With wealth set to pass from entrepreneurs to their heirs in the coming years, the 21st century multi-generational families are being created,” the report said.

Meanwhile, household wealth in the U.S. is continuing to see an "unbroken spell of wealth gains" but China has replaced Japan in second place in the world wealth hierarchy, CNBC reported, citing Credit Suisse's latest report on global wealth.

During the 12 months since the bank's last report to mid-2018, aggregate global wealth rose by $14 trillion to $317 trillion, representing a growth rate of approximately 4.6 percent, according to the Global Wealth Report 2018, published by Credit Suisse's Research Institute

"The United States continued its unbroken spell of wealth gains since the global financial crisis, adding another $6 trillion to the stock of global wealth," Credit Suisse's annual report noted, saying that rising household wealth in the U.S. was "seemingly relentless."

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The world’s billionaires’ wealth reportedly surged 19 percent last year in its biggest-ever increase, hitting $8.9 trillion shared among 2,158 individuals.
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Tuesday, 30 October 2018 02:35 PM
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