The number of high net worth (HNWIs) in Qatar has grown by 300 percent since 2000, according to a report.
The Middle East 2014 Wealth Report, by South African consultancy New World Wealth, claims Qatar has seen the fastest growth in HNWIs over the past 15 years in the Middle East.
The Gulf state is home to around 39,000 HNWIs compared to 9,500 in 2000.
However, the report predicted the number will grow more slowly – by an estimated 35 percent – to 52,700 individuals over the next decade.
Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, told Arabian Business: “Qatar’s strong growth was fuelled by a big rise in US$ GDP per capita since 2000, the migration of a large number of wealthy individuals to the country and growth in a number of high growth sectors including financial services and real estate.
“Going forward, the country’s growth is expected to slow as declining oil prices impact on new business formation and construction in the country.”
HNWIs are described as individuals with net assets of more than $1 million. Of all the Middle Eastern countries studied by New World Wealth, the UAE topped the list, with 72,100 HNWIs. Israel came second with 71,700, and Saudi Arabia third with 59,000. Qatar was fourth, closely followed by Kuwait with 38,900.
After Qatar, Iran and the UAE had the second and third fastest growth in HNWIs since 2000, with 194 percent and 175 percent respectively.
Similar to Qatar, the UAE’s growth was supported by migration – over 10,000 HNWIs moved to the UAE over the last 14 years, the report said, and their wealth was were bolstered by the strong performance of local equity and real estate markets.
However, Middle Eastern wealth has been negatively influenced by a 27 percent drop in oil prices during the period, the report added.
Amoils said: “Iran’s relatively strong growth over the review period is surprising considering the sanctions that have been placed on them. Iran experienced particularly strong growth between 2000 and 2011 although growth over the past three years (2011-2014) has been poor.
“The strong growth figures in the UAE were impressive. Growth there was supported by the migration of over 10,000 HNWIs into the UAE during the period and well performing local equity and local real estate markets.”
There were approximately 320 million people living in the Middle East at the end of 2014, the report concluded.
It found the average Middle East individual had net assets of $14,400 (wealth per capita), compared to the worldwide average of $27,600.
There were approximately 460,000 HNWIs living in Middle East, with combined wealth holdings of $2.2 trillion. This equates to approximately 48 percent of total wealth held in the region ($4.6 trillion).
Overall, the number of HNWIs in the Middle East increased by 136 percent during the 14-year review period, compared to a worldwide HNWI growth rate of 73 percent over the same period.
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