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SA ranked 36th wealthiest in Allianz study

By Angelique Ruzicka

Millions of South African people suffer from poverty and the government grants do little to alleviate the burden. However, the country has been declared 36th wealthiest country out of 50 countries for the second time in a row in the eighth Allianz Global Wealth Report 2017

The report, which was released today, September 27, 2017, puts the assets and liabilities of households in more than 50 countries under the microscope, including South Africa. 

Even though South Africa made the top 50 its ranking at number 36 is still considered a performance considering the mineral wealth and opportunities that the country could take advantage of. At R111.640, South Africa’s net financial assets per capita, is higher than other BRICS countries except for China. However, South Africa’s net financial assets of households grew by only 5.3% – one of the slowest rates among the BRICS countries, which is also below the average of advanced markets.

Allianz said the country’s performance is due to the market’s financial asset growth that remained lackluster for a second year in a row at 4.7%. Although it was slightly higher than the year before, it was well below the inflation rate of 6.6%. Globally, 2016 was a politically unstable and very turbulent year, but private wealth shrugged it off: after a weaker 2015 (+4.7%), financial assets grew again by 7.1% to a new record high of almost €170 trillion. 

The growth of liabilities slowed down to 3.2% as South African households continued to show some debt discipline. This has resulted in the debt ratio falling below 45% for the first time in ten years. Even though the country’s households have trimmed their debt ratio by 10% over the last decade, its overall level remains elevated, and higher than the emerging market average of around 35%, which is still very concerning.

Overall, South Africa’s relatively high average wealth has to be taken with a pinch of salt, because wealth is unevenly distributed. More than 70% of all net financial assets are owned by 10% of the population. While, globally, only the US displays a higher share of wealth, the global average is about 53%. 

At the top of the list, a change of the guard occurred in 2016, with the USA capturing the top spot from Switzerland (by a razor-thin margin). Otherwise, the list gives the usual suspects, with Scandinavian and Asian countries dominating.

 

Top 20 in 2016 by…

 

 

net per capita financial assets

 

 

gross per capita financial assets

 

 

in EUR

y-o-y in %

rank
2000

 

 

in EUR

y-o-y in %

rank
2000

#1   USA

177,210

5.8

2

 

#1   Switzerland

268,840

2.4

1

#2   Switzerland

175,720

2.7

1

 

#2   USA

221,690

5.1

2

#3   Japan

96,890

1.8

3

 

#3   Denmark

146,490

2.2

7

#4   Sweden

95,050

7.0

14

 

#4   Netherlands

137,540

6.0

5

#5   Taiwan

92,360

9.6

12

 

#5   Sweden

136,270

6.6

14

#6   Belgium

92,080

4.3

4

 

#6   Australia

133,010

6.9

13

#7   Singapore

89,570

7.9

15

 

#7   Canada

128,510

6.6

8

#8   Netherlands

87,980

9.4

9

 

#8   Singapore

126,640

5.8

9

#9   Canada

87,590

7.8

8

 

#9   Japan

118,950

1.9

3

#10 New Zealand

86,030

0.6

7

 

#10 UK

116,570

7.3

6

#11 UK

84,080

8.6

5

 

#11 Belgium

115,430

4.1

4

#12 Denmark

81,590

2.8

13

 

#12 New Zealand

113,660

2.1

10

#13 Israel

73,330

5.4

10

 

#13 Taiwan

111,310

8.7

16

#14 Australia

67,390

8.8

19

 

#14 Norway

93,640

4.9

20

#15 France

56,040

6.3

11

 

#15 Israel

91,830

5.3

18

#16 Italy

54,530

0.2

6

 

#16 France

78,840

5.0

12

#17 Austria

51,980

2.0

17

 

#17 Ireland

77,860

2.4

15

#18 Germany

49,760

5.2

18

 

#18 Austria

73,160

2.4

19

#19 Ireland

45,100

6.6

16

 

#19 Germany

70,350

4.5

17

#20 Finland

28,650

4.8

20

 

#20 Italy

70,130

0.4

11

  

Munich, Johannesburg September 27, 2017

 

 

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