India has 0.7% share in world's richest 1%, but 92.3% remain poor

15 November 2017

India has 3,40,000 adults in the top 1 per cent of global wealth holders, which is a 0.7 per cent share, according to a Credit Suisse report released on Tuesday.

There are 1,820 adults with wealth of over $50 million (Rs325 crore), while 760 have more than $100 million (Rs650 crore).

The Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report also said India is home to 2,45,000 millionaires and has a total household wealth of $5 trillion.

But while wealth has been rising in India, the growth is lopsided, as 92.3 per cent of Indian adults are at the bottom of the pyramid, with wealth less than $10,000.

Above that, 7.2 per cent of Indian adults are in the $10,000 to $100,000 bracket, while only 0.5 per cent of Indians have wealth over $100,000. However, given India's large population, this O.5 per cent translates into 4.2 million people.

The upper limit of the bottom bracket ($10,000) is very high by Indian standards because median wealth in India is a mere $1,295 per adult.

The number of ultra rich in the country is expected to reach 3,72,000 by 2022, while the total household income is likely to grow by 7.5 per cent annually to touch $7.1 trillion, the report says.

Since 2000, wealth in India has grown 9.9 per cent per annum, faster than the global average of 6 per cent even after taking into account population growth of 2.2 per cent annually.

Moreover, India's wealth growth of $451 billion represents the 8th largest wealth gain globally by country. There is still considerable wealth poverty as 92 per cent of the adult population has below $10,000, the report said.

According to the report, personal wealth in India is dominated by property and other real assets, which make up 86 per cent of estimated household assets. Personal debts are estimated to be just 9 per cent of gross assets, overall household debt as a proportion of assets in India is lower than in most developed countries.

Although indebtedness is a severe problem for many poor people in India, overall household debt as a proportion of assets in India is lower than in most developed countries, the report showed.

According to the eighth edition of the Global Wealth Report, in the year to mid-2017, total global wealth rose at a rate of 6.4 per cent, the fastest pace since 2012, reaching $280 trillion. The rise in global wealth reflected widespread gains in equity markets and similar rises in non-financial assets.

The report noted fluctuations in asset prices and exchange rates account for much of the change in household wealth across regions and countries in the short run. Most of these influences have been positive during past 12 months, including in India, where market capitalisation rose by close to 30 per cent, house prices by around 10 per cent, while Indian rupee rose 4 per cent against the US dollar.

Globally, Switzerland remains the richest nation with $537,600 wealth per adult in 2017, followed by Australia ($402,600) and the United States ($388,000), the report said.

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