Aggregate world wealth grows by 9.8% in 2021 and reaches 463.6 billion dollars (464.6 billion euros, at current exchange rates). The countries that add the most are the United States and China. The former contributes just over half of the total increase in fortune, while China contributes a quarter. Africa, Europe, India and Latin America, meanwhile, together accounted for just 11.1% of global wealth growth in 2021, according to a report released Tuesday by Credit Suisse bank.
The richest 1% of the planet continues to accumulate 45.6% of the wealth in 2021, 1.7 points more than in 2019. And the report predicts that this small group will continue to grow: the number of millionaires (fortunes of more than one million dollars) will reach 87 million and the number of ultra-rich (with a net fortune of more than 50 million dollars) will predictably reach 385,000 in the next five years. At the base of the pyramid are those who had capital of less than $10,000 in 2021 and who represent 53% of the world’s population. Spain closed 2021 with 1,132,000 millionaires, 17,000 less than last year.
In terms of growth, the two most thriving economies are the United States and China, both with a growth rate of around 15% each. At the bottom is Europe, which grows only 1.5% in 2021, but accumulates the second largest mass of wealth behind the US and ahead of China. In the forecasts for the next five years, the report predicts that the middle-income countries will be the main engine of the world economy, producing 42% of global growth.
Regarding the distribution of wealth, the report maintains that during this century global inequality has decreased, pushed by the accelerated growth of emerging markets. This assumption is supported by the fact that the segment of those with wealth between 10,000 and 100,000 dollars has been the one that has grown the most since the beginning of the century (from 504 million to 1,800 million individuals).
Credit Suisse’s assessment calls 2021 a “good year for finance.” The interest rate cuts and the policies that the central banks put in place to save the crisis derived from the pandemic favored the increase in the wealth of families. In the forecasts for this 2022, the entity is more cautious and maintains that the war in Ukraine, inflation and the rise in rates could slow down the growth of family wealth in the short term.
The data in Spain
In the case of Spain, the report shows positive forecasts. The Spanish economy contracted in 2020 and experienced a drop in real GDP of 11.3 points (according to the latest INE review), although the report’s forecasts are good. According to the study, the GDP of Spain and Italy should recover in 2022 until it is already close to the figures prior to the pandemic.
As for family savings, the reduction in consumption caused by the confinement meant that the data on family savings improved significantly: it increased from 8.3% in 2019 to 15.0% in 2020. In 2021 the levels of consumption rebounded after the easing of restrictions and, despite the increase in spending, savings remained high.
Regarding inequality figures, the study states that Spain, Italy and Greece present slightly lower figures than the main countries of northern Europe. The three countries of southern Europe presented in 2021 a Gini index —which measures the concentration of average wealth between 0 and 100, with 0 representing maximum equality— of 68.2 and the percentage in the hands of the 1% most rich was 23.8%. For France, Germany, and Great Britain, the corresponding means were 73.2% and 25.0%, respectively.