SINGAPORE (Nov 23): Adverse currency movements have caused wealth to decline in every region except Asia Pacific (APAC) – the only instance which bucks the trend of limited growth in global wealth since 2013, according to the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI) in its seventh annual Global Wealth Report.

Total global wealth in 2016 edged upwards by 1.4% or some US$256 trillion ($364.3 trillion), which is in line with the rate of world adult population growth.

UK was among the hardest hit with a significant drop in wealth of US$1.5 trillion following the Brexit vote, which triggered a sharp decline in exchange rates and the stock market.

Conversely, Japan and US reported the highest growth in total wealth to US$24 trillion and US$85 trillion respectively. In yen terms, however, Japan’s total wealth remained flat, indicating a slowdown in progress as compared to the preceding five years.

Switzerland remains the richest nation in the world in terms of wealth per adult, followed by Australia and Singapore.

The APAC region saw its wealth increase by 4.5% in 2016 to nearly US$80 trillion, largely due to a significant expansion in Japan due to currency appreciation against the USD. Wealth per adult in APAC increased by 2.9%, the fastest pace among all regions.

In particular, Singapore’s household wealth grew 2.9% in 2016 to reach US$1.1 trillion, while wealth per adult increased 1.4% to US$277,000 – ranking seventh globally among major economies. While household wealth is projected to grow 3.5% per year to reach US$1.4 trillion by 2021, wealth per adult forecast to rise 2.2% per annum to reach US$309,000 by 2021.

Financial assets make up 54% of gross household wealth in Singapore, a ratio similar to that of Switzerland and the United Kingdom, observes Credit Suisse in a release on Tuesday.

The bank also notes average debt of US$54,800 per adult, representing 17% of total assets, which is moderate for a high-wealth country.

Singaporeans have notably shown rapid progression up the wealth pyramid. Now, some 50% of adults are reported to possess wealth above US$100,000, compared to 21% in 2000 – while those with wealth below US$100,000 have declined from 79% to 50% of adult population.

The city state’s number of millionaires have thus grown 2% to 150,000 with a total of US$541 billion in wealth, and are forecast to grow 4.2% per annum to 185,000 in 2021.

“The consequences of the 2008-2009 recession will continue to have a material impact on growth, which is pointing more and more towards a long-term stagnation,” comments John Woods, Credit Suisse’s Asia Pacific chief investment officer.

“The emergence of a multi-polar world, confirmed by the impact of the Brexit vote in the UK and by the US presidential election, is likely to exacerbate such a trend, which could possibly lead to a new normal lower rate of wealth growth.”