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Super rich Indians' love of equities dwarfs rest of the world

Homes under construction at an Amrapali Group development in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Several real estate developers have been dragged to court by irate homeowners who shelled out payments for apartments that have yet to be completed.

[MUMBAI] Wealthy Indians are buying stocks hand over fist, eclipsing the strong appetite for equities seen across the world, according to a Knight Frank study.

Some 95 per cent of India's population who earn US$50 million or more lifted their holdings in the 12 months through October, compared with the 62 per cent global average, the analysis showed.

At the same time, they shunned historically favored assets from property to gold, which ranked among the investments seeing the smallest allocation increase for India's rich.

Equities have been a great choice - the global index is up 17 per cent over the past year and India's Sensex is 14 per cent higher. The allure of gold and property has faded following the government's crackdown on unaccounted wealth back in 2016.

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Once Asia's top real estate market, India has witnessed a sharp fall in sales following the cash ban, new consumer protection laws and the roll-out of a nationwide sales tax.

India's ultra-wealthy population, defined as those earnings US$500 million or more, grew 18 per cent between 2016-2017, compared with an 11 per cent expansion globally, according to Knight Frank's annual wealth report released Wednesday.

By the end of 2022 those in that super-rich category will have swelled to 340 people, a 70 per cent increase, the report estimated.