ZURICH (Reuters) – The world’s richest individuals turned rather less nicely off final yr, in response to a report by UBS (UBSG.S) and PwC, as geopolitical turmoil and risky fairness markets lowered the wealth of billionaires for the first time since 2015.
Billionaires’ wealth fell by four.three% globally to $eight.5 trillion final yr, the united statesPwC report discovered, with a pointy decline in Greater China, together with Hong Kong, and the Asia-Pacific area extra broadly.
Private wealth in Hong Kong fell four% in 2018 to $319.eight billion, the report confirmed, with months of anti-government protests within the Chinese-ruled metropolis and an financial recession clouding the outlook this yr.
Some Hong Kong tycoons have begun shifting private wealth offshore, Reuters reported in June, as considerations deepen over the protests.
“We haven’t seen any significant outflows, we have been tracking some of these numbers on a regular basis,” stated Amy Lo, UBS co-head of Asia Pacific wealth administration. “Our clients have been diversifying all along, it’s not in the last one year.”
Private banks together with the world’s largest wealth supervisor UBS have felt the consequences of U.S.-China commerce tensions and international political uncertainties, as shoppers final yr shied away from buying and selling and taking over debt in favor of hoarding money.
The internet value of China’s richest dropped 12.eight% in greenback phrases on the again of tumbling inventory markets, a weaker native foreign money and a slowdown in progress, the report discovered, knocking dozens off the billionaires record.
Despite the drop, China nonetheless produces a brand new billionaire each 2-2.5 days, UBS’s head of ultra-high internet value shoppers, Josef Stadler, stated within the report launched on Friday.
Worldwide, the variety of billionaires fell in all places besides within the Americas, the place tech entrepreneurs continued to buoy the ranks of the United States’ wealthiest.
“This report shows the resilience of the U.S. economy,” the place there have been 749 billionaires on the finish of 2018, stated John Matthews, head of personal wealth administration and ultra-high internet value enterprise for UBS within the United States.
While a inventory market restoration from a steep drop in late 2018 has helped wealth managers improve their belongings, the world’s richest households stay involved about international affairs from commerce tensions and Brexit to populism and local weather change and are holding extra of their cash in money.
“It is likely that billionaire wealth will go up again this year,” stated Simon Smiles, UBS’s chief funding officer for ultra-wealthy shoppers, including it might probably be a extra muted improve than the broader monetary market rally may recommend.
Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Dilts and Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Mark Potter and Giles Elgood