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Wed, Oct 14, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Fewer Asia-Pacific millionaires in 2008

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The ranks of millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region fell by 14 percent last year, a report by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management found.

The number of people in the region with at least US$1 million in financial assets, excluding their primary residences, slipped to 2.4 million as the global economy slowed and markets declined, the firms said in their fourth annual Asia-Pacific Wealth Report yesterday. The value of assets held by the region’s millionaires slid 22 percent to US$7.4 trillion.

The number of millionaires in China dropped 12 percent to 364,000 and the value of their assets shrank 21 percent to US$1.7 trillion, even as the nation’s wealth ranking rose to fourth, surpassing Britain, Capgemini and Merrill Lynch said.

Japan’s population of millionaires fell by 9.9 percent to 1.37 million while their wealth contracted 17 percent to US$3.2 trillion. Hong Kong experienced the biggest decline in the world, with the number of millionaires plunging 61 percent to 37,000, Capgemini and Merrill Lynch said.

“The region’s economies are showing signs of recovery and are forecast to grow at a faster pace than the global economy by 2010,” the statement said. “China and India are likely to lead high-net-worth-individual growth in Asia-Pacific, underpinned by robust domestic consumption and a growing number of affluent individuals.”

Capgemini and Merrill Lynch forecast the combined wealth of the region’s millionaires to increase by 8.8 percent annually until 2018.

“Asia-Pacific high-net-worth-individuals increased their allocations to safer and simpler investments last year in a move to preserve wealth,” the report’s authors said in a statement.

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