Global gap between rich and poor widens: report

Personal wealth surges at the fastest rate ever recorded: report

While the global economy continues to face challenges, personal wealth has surged at a record pace, increasing $20.1 trillion during the past year and widening the inequality gap between the rich and poor, according to the latest Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report.

Healthy housing markets and robust equity prices helped this increase, leading to an 8.3 per cent growth in global wealth to $263 trillion and marking the first time household wealth exceeded the $250 trillion threshold, the report said.

The annual growth of $20.1 trillion was the highest recorded since 2007. The report’s findings suggest personal wealth has been rising at the fastest rate ever recorded.

In order to illustrate wealth inequality, Credit Suisse noted – debts aside – an individual would require a mere $3,650 to belong to the wealthiest half of world citizens. However, in order to be part of the world’s top 10, more than $77,000 is required, and $798,000 to belong to the wealthiest 1 per cent.

The report analysed wealth ownership for every region, finding North America to have witnessed the highest increase in wealth from mid-2013 until mid-2014, growing 11.4 per cent. Europe followed with an increase of 10.6 per cent, Africa with 6.3 per cent and Asia Pacific with 3.6 per cent.

In both North America and Europe, capital markets made significant contributions to wealth growth. On the other hand, Asia and specifically China make up the largest portion of newly created wealth among emerging markets.

In many countries, “the disparity between population and wealth becomes increasingly apparent,” the report said. For example, despite making significant strides over the past years, China accounts for 21.4 per cent of the adult population of the world, but only 8.1 per cent of global wealth. This is similar for Latin America.

In Africa and India, however, the population share exceeds the wealth share by a multiple of more than ten, it noted. As net worth per adult globally surged to an all-time high, there are considerable variations between countries and regions.

The richest countries, where wealth per adult stands at above $100,000, can be found in North America, Western Europe and a number of wealthy Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern nations.