The fourteenth edition of the Global Wealth Report was launched today jointly by Credit Suisse and UBS. It shows that measured in current nominal USD, total net private wealth fell by $11.3 trillion (–2.4 percent) to $454.4 trillion at the end of 2022. Wealth per adult also declined by $3,198 (–3.6 percent) to reach $84,718 per adult. Much of this decline comes from the appreciation of the US dollar against many other currencies. Financial assets contributed most to wealth declines in 2022 while non-financial assets (mostly real estate) stayed resilient, despite rapidly rising interest rates.
Regional and demographic themes
- Regionally, the report shows the loss of global wealth was heavily concentrated in wealthier regions such as North America and Europe, which together shed $10.9 trillion.
- Asia Pacific recorded losses of $2.1 trillion.
- Latin America is the outlier with a total wealth increase of $2.4 trillion, helped by an average 6 percent currency appreciation against the US dollar.
- Heading the list of losses in market terms in 2022 is the United States, followed by Japan, China, Canada and Australia.
- The largest wealth increases at the other end were recorded for Russia, Mexico, India and Brazil.
- In terms of wealth per adult, Switzerland continues to top the list followed by the USA, Hong Kong SAR, Australia and Denmark despite sizeable reductions in mean wealth versus 2021.
- Ranking markets by median wealth puts Belgium in the lead followed by Australia, Hong Kong SAR, New Zealand and Denmark.
When looked at in demographic terms, Generation X and Millennials continued to do relatively well in 2022 in the USA and Canada but were not immune to the overall wealth reduction.
Reduction in wealth inequalities
Along with the decline in aggregate wealth, overall wealth inequality also fell in 2022, with the wealth share of the global top 1 percent falling to 44.5 percent. The number of USD millionaires worldwide fell by 3.5 million during 2022 to 59.4 million. This figure does not, however, take into account 4.4 million “inflation millionaires” who would no longer qualify if the millionaire threshold were adjusted for inflation in 2022.
Global median wealth, arguably a more meaningful indicator of how the typical person is faring, did in fact increase by 3 percent in 2022 in contrast to the 3.6 percent fall in wealth per adult. For the world as a whole, median wealth has increased five-fold this century at roughly double the pace of wealth per adult, largely due to the rapid wealth growth in China.
A brighter outlook
According to the report’s projections, global wealth will rise by 38 percent over the next five years, reaching $629 trillion by 2027. Growth by middle-income markets will be the primary driver of global trends. The report estimates wealth per adult to reach $110,270 in 2027 and the number of millionaires to reach 86 million while the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) is likely to rise to 372,000 individuals.
Anthony Shorrocks, economist and report author, said: “Much of the decline in wealth in 2022 was driven by high inflation and the appreciation of the US dollar against many other currencies. If exchange rates were held constant at 2021 rates, then total wealth would have increased by 3.4 percent and wealth per adult by 2.2 percent during 2022. This is still the slowest increase of wealth at constant exchange rates since 2008. Keeping exchange rates constant but counting the effects of inflation results in a real wealth loss of –2.6 percent in 2022. Similarly, financial assets contributed most to wealth declines while non-financial assets (mostly real estate) stayed resilient, despite rapidly rising interest rates. But the relative contributions of financial and non-financial assets may reverse in 2023 if house prices decline in response to higher interest rates.”
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