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Rediff.com  » Business » W Asian super rich's wealth touches $1.7 trillion

W Asian super rich's wealth touches $1.7 trillion

June 23, 2011 12:19 IST

DollarsThe West Asian's rich became even more wealthy in 2010, with only the United Arab Emirates registering a decline in its wealthy population, a new report has revealed.

Merrill Lynch's World Wealth Report 2011 said the number of dollar millionaires in the region swelled by 10.4 per cent in 2010, reflecting the fastest growth rate worldwide, to represent 400,000 people sitting on a cumulative cash pile of $1.7 trillion.

Among the Gulf countries, only the UAE saw a slump in its millionaires' club, a decline attributed to the collapse of Dubai's real estate market, which eroded house prices by more than 60 per cent.

Across West Asia, holdings of real estate among high net worth players fell to 18 per cent of all investments from 23 per cent in 2009 as property markets saw a slump in demand.

High levels of disposable cash also meant the region's rich invested in the global equities markets, which produced strong returns last year.

Private equity investments, which grew by an average of 18 per cent in 2010, comprised 17 per cent of overall investment by West Asian millionaires compared to 10 per cent globally.

Globally, the number of dollar millionaires rose 8.3 per cent year-on-year to 10.9 million with a hefty combined wealth of $42.7 trillion.

Breaking down the spending habits of the wealthy, the report found luxury trophy assets such as cars, boats and jets made up 29 per cent of investments by the world's rich.

Art made up some 22 per cent of investments, underpinning the booming global art market.

Wine, antiques, coins and other collectibles accounted for around 15 per cent of spending.

Sports investments, while only accounting for 8 per cent of investments globally, accounted for 13 per cent of West Asian millionaires' spending.

However, the region's rich cut their spending on jewellery, gems and watches to 29 per cent last year, down from 35 per cent in 2009.

Kuwait and Bahrain saw their share of high-net-worth players jump by 25 and 24 per cent, respectively, placing them sixth and seventh in the ranking of 71 countries, the report said.

The United Arab Emirates saw a 3.5 per cent decline in the number of dollar millionaires.

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