By Andy Sambidge
Total wealth of mega-rich increases despite 1.9% drop in number of billionaires living in the region - study
The billionaire population in the Middle East shrank by 1.9 percent over the past year but total billionaire wealth in the region rose by 16.7 percent, according to a new report.
The Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 also showed that 155 new billionaires were minted this year, pushing the global population to a record 2,325 – a 7 percent rise from 2013.
In the Middle East, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed is the richest with a fortune of $31.2 billion, according to the latest Arabian Business Rich List.
According to the Wealth-X report, the combined wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by 12 percent to $7.3 trillion, which is higher than the combined market capitalisation of all the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
It also revealed that Europe, with 775 billionaires, is the region with the most billionaires and billionaire wealth ($2.37 trillion). North America – the region with the most billionaire wealth in 2013 – was overtaken by Europe in terms of billionaire wealth in this year’s census.
Asia, however, boasted the largest billionaire wealth increase, with the region’s billionaires’ fortunes growing by 18.7 percent over the past year. The region is responsible for 30 percent of the net increase in global billionaire wealth in 2014, the report said.
Asia’s billionaire population grew by 10 percent in 2014, with 52 new entrants into the billionaire club – 33 are from China.
The United States maintained its position as the world’s top billionaire country with a population of 571 billionaires in2014, followed by China (190) and the United Kingdom (130).
The report also showed that nearly 35 percennt of the world’s billionaires are concentrated in 20 cities while only five percent of the world’s billionaires are worth more than $10 billion.
The average billionaire‘s wealth rose by 4.4 percent this year to just over $3.1 billion while the average age of the typical billionaire is 63, one year older than it was in 2013.
There are 2,039 male billionaires in 2014 and 286 female billionaires, the report added.