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Asia's super-rich to grow up to 3 million

Publication Date : 26-09-2012


The number of super-rich people in Asia may approach 3 million, with a stock of wealth equal to US$16.7 trillion, by 2015 thanks to resilient economies against the backdrop of a global slump, according to Julius Baer, a leading Swiss private banking group.

According to the "2012 Julius Baer Wealth Report" released yesterday, the number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in Asia is estimated to be 2.67 million by 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate of more than 30 per cent from 2010.

The report said the global macroeconomic backdrop had become more challenging, but Asia had remained resilient thanks to strong fiscal fundamentals, improved economic policy-making and greater diversification of trade links.

Domestic demand, supported by robust job growth, remains a key pillar to Asia's growth. So risk to Asia's growth in HNWIs is small.

"High growth has trickled down to HNWIs," Thomas Meier, a member of the Julius Baer executive board and chief executive officer for Asia, said via a video news conference from Hong Kong to Singapore.

HNWIs are defined as those with investable assets of $1 million or more excluding their primary residence.

Asia is not completely free from contagion from the euro-zone crisis and slow recovery of the US economy, said Stefan Hofer, emerging-market strategist of Bank Julius Baer.

China has faced an export slowdown, but public investment in infrastructure projects will drive growth, and its real gross domestic product is expected to expand 8 per cent this year and next, Hofer said.

Asked about impacts from the island dispute between China and Japan, Hofer expressed confidence about the regional economic performance. "Emerging-market risk premiums are extremely low, [and] we have priced in political risks."

In the baseline scenario, the report estimated the combined wealth of 2.67 million HNWIs expected to be in Asia by 2015 at $15.8 trillion.

Under a downside scenario, the overall number of HNWIs will be 6 per cent lower and wealth stock is estimated to be $14.7 trillion.

For the upside scenario, the number of HNWIs would be almost 3 million with a wealth stock of $16.7 trillion. China would have the largest increase, to 1.46 million super-rich with a wealth stock of $9.3 trillion.

The report also said the Consumer Price Index among the rich would rise 8.8 per cent this year, outpacing ordinary inflation, according to the conventional CPI, which stood at about 6 per cent in Asia this year.

The Julius Baer Lifestyle Index is based on a basket of 20 luxury goods and services, such as expensive watches, brand-name bags and cars.


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