This is according to ninth edition of the Global Wealth Report, published by the Credit Suisse Research Institute which shows that wealth in South Africa is on an ‘uptick’, though it is still struggling to reach previous levels of high growth.
The report indicates that during the 12 months to mid-2018, aggregate global wealth rose by $14,0 trillion (4,6%) to a combined total of $317 trillion, outpacing population growth.
The global wealth per adult grew by 3,2%, raising global mean wealth to a record high of $63 100 per adult.
The USA contributed most global wealth, adding $6,3 trillion and taking its total to $98 trillion, followed by China, which is now clearly established in second place of the world wealth hierarchy.
The mean wealth in South Africa per adult is far lower down the list, at $22 191 per adult, while median wealth sits at $6 726 per adult.
“This reflects increased real growth in the domestic economy, stimulated partly by the strong rise in global trade seen in recent years. South Africa has complete official household balance sheets, which is unusual among emerging-market countries,” the report says.
“This means that our estimates of the level and composition of household wealth are more reliable than for most other emerging markets.”
According to the report, the personal wealth is largely comprised of financial assets, which contribute 66% to the household portfolio.
It says this reflects a vigorous stock market and strong life insurance and pension industries.
“Owing in part to relatively low real estate prices, average real assets of $9 180 are only around twice the level of average debt ($4 450).”
“South Africa has the same fraction of adults with wealth below $10 000 as the world as a whole, that is 64%. However, it also has fewer individuals with wealth above $100 000 (3,2% versus 9,4%).”
Credit Suisse estimated that 61 000 citizens in the country are members of the top 1% of global wealth holders, while 50 000 are US dollar millionaires.
However, the report reveals that overall inequality is high, with a wealth Gini coefficient of 81% and the share of the top 1% in total household wealth is 36%.