Global private wealth was down 2.4% last year to $454.4trn, the first annual drop since the 2008 global financial crisis, according to the 2023 Global Wealth Report, jointly published by Credit Suisse and UBS.
The two major financial hubs in Asia Pacific – Hong Kong and Singapore – had contrasting fortunes last year as wealth per adult in the Chinese special administrative region fell, while for Singapore it was up slightly.
Overall, the picture was bleak as wealth per adult globally also fell 3.6% to $84,718 last year. Credit Suisse and UBS attributed much of this decline to the depreciation of most currencies against the US dollar.
The report noted that if exchange rates were held at 2021 rates, total wealth increased by 3.4% last year, while wealth per adult grew by 2.2%.
Nevertheless, the adjusted figures are still the lowest recorded in any year this century apart from 2008 and demonstrate the overall challenging macro backdrop last year.
“The Russia-Ukraine war, alongside other factors, caused inflation to increase rapidly in 2022,” the authors wrote.
“This prompted rises in interest rates, which hampered economic growth, depressed asset prices and contributed to a widespread depreciation of currencies against the US dollar.”
In terms of wealth per adult, Hong Kong ranked third overall on a mean basis behind Switzerland and the USA with average wealth of $551,190, down $2,170, while on a median basis, it ranked third, also behind Belgium and Australia with $202,410 average wealth, down just $130.
Meanwhile, Singapore jumped three places to eighth in mean wealth, thanks to a $22,590 rise in average wealth to $382,960, while on a median basis it finished 17th, up $5,790 to $99,490.
China unsurprisingly had a difficult year last year due to the impact of Covid-induced lockdowns on the economy and the authors noted that total assets per adult fell for the first time since 2000, down 2.3%.
Mean wealth per adult in China came in at $75,731, while on a median basis, this figure was $27,273.
In India, whose stock market soared last year after a rerouting of emerging market flows away from China, net worth per adult was up 2.8% last year. Overall mean wealth came in at $16,500, while median wealth was $3,755.
In Japan, Korea and Taiwan, the median wealth per adult figures were $103,681, $92,719 and $108,247 respectively, while the mean figures were $216,078, $230,760 and $273,788. In Australia and New Zealand, the equivalent figures were $247,453 and $193,065 and $496,819 and $388,761.