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Singapore ranks 9th globally by wealth per adult: Credit Suisse report

SINGAPORE ranks ninth among major economies in terms of wealth per adult, which rose 5.3 per cent to more than US$283,000 in the 12 months from mid-2017 to mid-2018, according to Credit Suisse Research Institute's 2018 Global Wealth Report released on Thursday.

Switzerland remains the richest nation in the world with its wealth per adult of US$530,240, followed by Australia with US$411,060.

Singapore's wealth per adult has increased more than 146 per cent since 2000, mainly from high savings, asset price increases and a rising exchange rate from 2005 to 2012. Its average debt of US$53,000, equal to 16 per cent of total assets, is moderate for a high-wealth country, said Credit Suisse.

The country's total wealth is about US$1.3 trillion, and is forecast to grow by 4.6 per cent per annum in the next five years to US$1.6 trillion in 2023.

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The number of millionaires in Singapore grew 11.2 per cent to 183,737 people, and is expected to grow by 5.5 per cent per annum in the next five years to reach 239,640 people. Ultra high net worth individuals, who each hold more than US$50 million in wealth, numbered about 1,000 people in mid-2018, a 1.1 per cent increase.

Overall, aggregate global wealth rose 4.6 per cent to US$317 trillion, outpacing population growth, and wealth per adult grew by 3.2 per cent, raising global mean wealth to a record US$63,100 per adult.

The US was the biggest contributor to global wealth as it added US$6.3 trillion, continuing its winning streak of yearly growth in total wealth, and wealth per adult since 2008. Its total wealth now stands at US$98 trillion.

Meanwhile, China has the second-largest household wealth after adding US$2.3 trillion to reach US$52 trillion. The country's wealth is projected to grow another US$23 trillion in the next five years to comprise 19 per cent of global wealth by 2023.

Non-financial assets were the main growth drivers in all regions except North America, and accounted for 75 per cent of wealth growth in China and Europe, and 100 per cent in India.

"The United States and China are the obvious outperformers and drivers of wealth growth, despite rising trade tensions," noted John Woods, Credit Suisse's chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific.

He added that asset price and exchange rate fluctuations had the heaviest impact in Latin America and parts of Asia-Pacific, contributing to much of the year-on-year variation in wealth levels. Currency depreciation against the US dollar also affected wealth trends in some of the major regional economies such as Australia and India.

Asia-Pacific economies "continue to make significant contribution to global high net worth wealth pool, with China, Japan, Australia, Korea and Taiwan making up more than 8.8 million millionaires, representing over 20 per cent of the global total", Mr Woods said. Asia-Pacific (including China and India) emerged on top as the largest wealth region, as household wealth grew 3 per cent to more than US$114 trillion. 

This year's report includes themes such as the global wealth outlook for women, and the narrowing wealth gap between the top two tiers of the global wealth pyramid and the bottom two tiers. In its overall wealth outlook, Credit Suisse projects global wealth to rise by nearly 4.7 per cent per annum over the next five years to US$399 trillion by 2023.