183,737 millionaires in Singapore, up 11%

Household wealth here up 7.4%; wealth per adult at No. 9 globally

The number is expected to grow by 5.5 per cent a year to reach 239,640 by 2023. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The ranks of the rich here grew significantly last year, on the back of soaring asset markets, a new report said yesterday.

It found that the number of millionaires in Singapore grew 11.2 per cent to 183,737 in the 12 months to the middle of this year.

The number is expected to grow by 5.5 per cent a year to reach 239,640 by 2023, according to the Credit Suisse Research Institute.

The number of Singapore's ultra-high net worth individuals - they have at least US$50 million (S$69 million) in wealth - rose more modestly, up 1.1 per cent to about 1,000.

Credit Suisse's study found that household wealth here grew by 7.4 per cent to around US$1.3 trillion.

That works out to US$283,000 for each adult, the ninth-highest in the world.

Singapore's wealth per adult has risen more than 146 per cent since 2000, mainly from high savings, asset price increases and a rising exchange rate from 2005 to 2012.

Financial assets make up 55 per cent of gross household wealth here, a ratio similar to that of Switzerland, the richest per capita economy.

Singapore's average debt of US$53,000, equal to 16 per cent of total assets, is moderate for a high-wealth country, Credit Suisse added.

The report also said aggregate global wealth rose 4.6 per cent to US$317 trillion in the same 12-month period, outpacing population growth.

The United States was the biggest contributor to global wealth, adding US$6.3 trillion. Its total wealth now stands at US$98 trillion.

China had the second-largest household wealth after adding US$2.3 trillion to reach US$52 trillion. Its wealth is projected to grow another US$23 trillion in the next five years to comprise 19 per cent of the global total by 2023.

Non-financial assets were the main growth drivers in all regions except North America, and accounted for 75 per cent of wealth growth in China and Europe, and 100 per cent in India.

"The United States and China are the obvious outperformers and drivers of wealth growth, despite rising trade tensions," noted Mr John Woods, Credit Suisse's chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific.

He added that asset price and exchange rate fluctuations had the heaviest impact in Latin America and parts of the Asia-Pacific, contributing to much of the year-on-year variation in wealth levels.

Currency depreciation against the US dollar also affected wealth trends in some major regional economies, such as Australia and India.

"The Asia-Pacific countries continue to make significant contribution to the global high-net-worth wealth pool, with China, Japan, Australia, (South) Korea and Taiwan making up more than 8.8 million millionaires, representing over 20 per cent of the global total," Mr Woods said.

The Asia-Pacific emerged as the largest wealth region, as household wealth grew 3 per cent to more than US$114 trillion.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2018, with the headline 183,737 millionaires in Singapore, up 11%. Subscribe