French millionaire population highest in Europe

Although French wealth per adult has not regained its 2007 peak of $300,000, the country still boasts the highest number of millionaires in Europe, a study recently published by Credit Suisse Research reveals.

Despite rising house prices and the appreciation of the euro against the dollar, France’s wealth is still considered “robust and resilient” by the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2011.

France hosts just 1.1% of the world’s adult population but it is ranked fourth by the Credit Suisse report in terms of aggregate household wealth. This is just behind China and one place ahead of Germany.

Europe represents 40% of the global top 1% and France counts for a quarter of these individuals. The report underlined what this also means for the French population – a high average net worth of French households but also greater inequality of wealth in the country.

This does not necessarily mean that European asset managers should start piling into France. Although France boasts the highest number millionaires in Europe, Germany and the UK have even more ultra-high-net-worth individuals with over $100m.

Meanwhile Switzerland has the highest average wealth per household in the world at $540,000 – the only country in the world to have an average wealth per household above $500,000 – propelling it to the top of the rankings.

Europe now represents 34% of wealth shares. Beyond Europe the report highlighted impressive gains in wealth in certain emerging markets.

With total wealth of $4.1trn in 2011, India’s household wealth is comparable to the US in 1916. In the next five years Credit Suisse Research predicts that India will gain as much wealth as the US achieved over the course of 30 years beginning in 1916 due to an increase in wealth per adult accompanied by a significant rise in the adult population.

The report said Brazil’s case is also noteworthy. With household wealth expected to reach $9.2 trillion by 2016 – a level comparable to the US in 1948 – the rise in wealth in the next five years should correspond to the gain in the US over the 23-year period from 1925 to 1948, the report said.

Net worth per adult worldwide is expected to reach $70,700 in 2016, an increase of almost 40% over 2011. According to the report’s estimates, China will replace Japan as the second-wealthiest country in the world, with total household wealth of $39 trillion 2016, compared to $31 trillion for Japan.

The US is expected to maintain its supremacy in the wealth ranking, with a projected total household wealth of $82 trillion. France and Germany are expected to trail behind in fourth and fifth places with $20.1 trillion and $19.6 trillion respectively.

Wealth in both China and Africa as a whole is projected to rise by over 90 percent, but India and Brazil are forecast to do even better, with personal wealth more than doubling by 2016.

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