World Will Be 40 Percent Richer By 2018

Credit Suisse 2013 Global Wealth Report projects 40% increase in world wealth by 2018

12.20.13 3:45 PM ET

Watch this video to learn about the main themes that have contributed to the rise in global wealth over the past year.

Global wealth reached a new all-time high of 241 trillion US dollars in 2013, more than doubling since 2000. This number is projected to rise by nearly 40 percent over the next five years, reaching 334 trillion US dollars by 2018.

The US will remain the undisputed leader in terms of aggregate wealth, with total net worth approaching 100 trillion US dollars by 2018. Japan will likely remain the second wealthiest economy in the world until China overtakes it, probably at some point in 2016. By 2018, Chinese wealth is expected to approximate the level of US wealth in 1993. The Eurozone, currently accounting for 24 percent of global wealth, will likely see its share decline slightly to 23 percent. In absolute terms, however, its wealth will rise by more than 29 percent over the five-year period, putting the Eurozone where the US was in 2011.

Source: Credit Suisse

Emerging Markets to Account For a Greater Share of World Wealth

Between 2000 and 2013, emerging markets nearly doubled their share of global wealth from 12 percent to 21 percent. The Wealth Report predicts that the pace of wealth generation in emerging markets will continue to be greater than that of developed markets, although this difference will be less striking in the next five years. The share of wealth of emerging markets will likely reach 23 percent by 2018.

Source: Credit Suisse

Among major economies, China will likely be the largest gainer in relative terms. Since 2000, Chinese wealth has increased by 13.3 percent per annum, and it is expected to continue to grow at a rapid pace of 10.1 percent over the next five years. Wealth in India will also grow very rapidly, at an annual pace of 9.3 percent.

Top of the League Table

In terms of wealth per adult, Switzerland, Australia and Norway will likely remain at the top of the league table, while the US will still be among the top five nations. Large emerging economies, such as Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa, may see a substantial improvement in their wealth ranking as a result of relatively high GDP growth. Among large developing economies, wealth per adult in Turkmenistan and Chile will likely approach the levels of some developed economies, such as Slovenia and Malta.

The Growing Middle Segment

The Global Wealth Report predicts that the middle segment of the wealth pyramid—individuals with wealth holdings between 10,000 and 100,000 US dollars—will represent 27.4 percent or 1.4 billion adults by 2018. Of the additional 307 million adults in the middle segment by 2018, 89 percent will come from Asia-Pacific (including China and India) and an astonishing 58 percent from China alone.

World wealth distribution

Source: Credit Suisse

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

The catching-up process by the emerging economies is also evident in the increasing proportion of members in the top segment of global wealth distribution. Our estimates suggest that the number of global millionaires could exceed 47 million in 2018, a rise of almost 16 million. While the number of millionaires in emerging economies is still far below the level in the US (18.6 million) or Europe (15.0 million), it is expected to increase substantially in the next few years. Asia-Pacific is expected to increase its number of millionaires by 3.8 million, reaching 9 million by 2018. China could see its number almost doubling by 2018, raising the total to 2.1 million. Pushed by Brazil (an extra 186,000) and Mexico (an extra 87,000), the Global Wealth Report also predicts a substantial increase in the number of millionaires in Latin America, which will reach almost 1 million in five years' time.