The number of millionaires globally is set to increase by 18 million to 46 million in 2017, despite big falls in wealth over the last year.
That’s according to research by Credit Suisse, which said Europe lost almost $10.9 trillion (€8.4 trillion) in household assets in the year to June while Asia-Pacific shed about $1.4 trillion, as economic uncertainty continued to take its toll.
Exchange rates had a large impact on wealth over the 12-month period, said Professor Anthony Shorrocks, co-author of the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2012.
However, Credit Suisse predicts the number of millionaires in Europe will increase by 67% to 15.4 million by 2017, while Asia-Pacific, which excludes India and China, will have 70% more millionaires in five years.
Countries that are likely to see the largest rises in the number of millionaires include Brazil (119%), Malaysia (108%), Poland (105%) and Russia (109%).
According to the report, global wealth will rise by almost 50% in the next five years to $330 trillion, with the US to remain top in terms of total wealth.
But Switzerland, where every adult was worth an average of $468,186 this year, is likely to remain top of the wealth-per-adult tables in 2017.
The report also estimates that there are 84,500 ultra-high net worth individuals – those worth $50 million and over – in the world currently, with 47% found in North America and 26% in Europe.
Despite being home to 1,550 UHNW individuals, India fell back into the lowest wealth category this year – with average wealth of under $5,000 per adult.
Shorrocks said that although India and China had similar populations, there were big differences in wealth equality in the two countries. China has a large middle class, whereas there is far greater unequal distribution of money in India, he said.
But China could prove interesting when it comes to inheritance as people become richer in the years ahead, Shorrocks reckons. “In China, inherited wealth is very low at the moment. But what is going to happen in 25 years, particularly with the one-child policy?”