The number of rich Chinese has surpassed the count of wealthy Americans for the first time as both countries keep churning out millionaires, a study by Credit Suisse showed.
The Swiss bank’s annual wealth survey released on Monday found 100 million Chinese ranked in the global top 10 per cent as of the middle of this year versus 99 million in the United States.
“Despite the trade tension between the United States and China over the past 12 months, both countries have fared strongly in wealth creation, contributing US$3.8 trillion and US$1.9 trillion respectively,” said Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, global head of economics and research at Credit Suisse.
The ranks of the world’s millionaires have risen by 1.1 million to an estimated 46.8 million, collectively owning US$158.3 trillion in net assets, 44 per cent of the global total, the study found.
The United States added more than half of this number –675,000 new millionaires – to its sizeable stock.
A decline in average wealth in Australia – largely due to exchange rates – resulted in 124,000 fewer millionaires there, while Britain lost 27,000 and Turkey 24,000.
The report estimates that 55,920 adults are worth at least US$100 million and 4,830 have net assets above US$500 million.
It forecast global wealth – which increased 2.6 per cent over the past year – would rise by 27 per cent over the next five years to US$459 trillion by 2024. The number of millionaires would also grow over this period to almost 63 million.
The share of the world’s bottom 90 per cent accounts for 18 per cent of global wealth, compared to 11 per cent in the 2000.
“While it is too early to say wealth inequality is now in a downward phase, the prevailing evidence suggests that 2016 may have been the peak for the near future,” it said. –