MidEast super wealth growing fastest in the world: report

Number of super rich grew 15%, while their value soared 23.9% in the past year, according to annual report
MidEast super wealth growing fastest in the world: report
Riyadh skyline, Saudi real estate, Saudi mortgage, Saudi economy, GCC economy
By Courtney Trenwith
Mon 16 Sep 2013 02:06 PM

The Middle East’s rich are becoming richer at a faster pace than any other region, according to the latest global ultra wealth report.

The number of “ultra high net worth individuals” (UHNW) in the Middle East grew by 15 percent, while their collective wealth grew by 23.9 percent in the past year, the Wealth-X and UBS report found.

There are now 5300 super wealthy people in the region, worth a total of $880bn.

Globally, the UHNW population grew by 6.3 percent to 199,235. Their wealth rose 7.7 percent to $27,770bn.

The Middle East now accounts for 2.6 percent of the world’s richest people.

Despite growing the fastest, the region’s wealth remains far behind the rest of the world.

The US has the largest UHNW population, with 70,485 people worth $9.68trn. That’s followed by Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Oceania and Africa.

Saudi Arabia has the largest proportion of ultra rich people in the Middle East, with 1360 worth $285bn, after growing a whopping 17 percent and 26.7 percent, respectively, in the past year.

There are 64 billionaires in the kingdom – the highest ratio of any country analysed - worth $204bn in total, according to the report.

However, Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest levels of self-made UHNW individuals, with less than one-third.

It also has the lowest representation of wealthy females, with only 40 worth a total of $14bn. However, those Saudi’s rich females have a greater net worth share than countries such as the UAE, Canada and Indonesia.

The UAE is second highest in the Middle East, with Kuwait ranked third.

Majority of the UAE’s wealthy are self-made at 59 percent. There are 1050 UHNW individuals worth $190bn, including 37 billionaires with a total of $45bn.

The report says the “astonishing” growth in wealth in the Middle East was partly related to the Arab Spring as governments invested heavily and oil prices rose.

“The Arab Spring that swept across the Middle East is known as a political event, but its aftermath could be said to have brought an economic renewal,” the report says.

“High oil prices spurred economic growth for Middle Eastern countries and government spending rose accordingly to address the shortage of housing as well as inadequate infrastructure. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates benefitted most from the export-led growth.

“The ongoing civil war in Syria, however, has had a devastating impact on its economy and saw a fall in the country’s UHNW population and wealth, the only Middle Eastern country to experience this. Potential threats include a drop in oil demand and prices, as well as risks from civil unrests.”

Click here to view a breakdown of the number of UHNW individuals in each Gulf state

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