business news | Pandemic can’t stop soaring asset prices: Global household wealth climbed last year | Business News

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The number of millionaires in the world increased by 5.2 million last year, as global household wealth continued to grow.

The latest global wealth report by Credit Suisse found that wealth per adult was up 6% last year to $79,952 (£57,598).

Rising house prices and rebounding stock markets helped increase the number of millionaires by 5.2 million to 56.1 million last year.

Between January and March last year, $17.5trn (£12.6trn) or 4.4% was lost from total global household wealth but this had been largely reversed by the end of June.

Total household global wealth grew by 7.4%, or $28.7trn (£20.7trn) to $418.3trn (£301.3trn) by the end of the year.

Anthony Shorrocks, economist and author of the report, said: “Global wealth not only held steady in the face of such turmoil but in fact rapidly increased in the second half of the year.

“Indeed wealth creation in 2020 appears to have been completely detached from the economic woes resulting from COVID-19.

“If asset price increases are set aside, then global household wealth may well have fallen.”

Around the world during 2020:

• North America’s total household wealth increased by $12.4trn (£8.9trn)

• Europe’s increased by $9.2trn (£6.6trn)

• China’s increased by $4.2trn (£3trn)

• Asia Pacific’s increased by $4.7trn (£3.4trn)

• India’s household wealth was down 4.4%

• Latin America’s household wealth fell 11.4%

Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, chief investment officer of international wealth management and global head of economics and research at Credit Suisse, said: “There is no denying actions taken by governments and central banks to organise massive income transfer programmes to support the individuals and businesses most adversely affected by the pandemic, and by lowering interest rates, have successfully averted a full scale global crisis.”

She added: “The lowering of interest rates by central banks has probably had the greatest impact.

“It is a major reason why share prices and house prices have flourished, and these translate directly into our valuations of household wealth.”

Also in the report:

• Home owners and those with large share portfolios did best, particularly men, those in late middle age, and people who were already wealthy

• Female workers suffered most financially, partly because they make up the majority of those working in sectors such as retail and hospitality, which were hit hard by government lockdowns

• Global wealth is forecast to soar by more than a third – 39% – over the next five years to hit $583trn (£420trn) by 2025

• Wealth per adult will jump by 31%, passing $100,000 (£72,009) within five years

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