US mints more than half of world’s new millionaires

By Patrick Winters and Marion Halftermeyer

The US minted more than than half the world’s new millionaires last year as investments in equities and tech stocks propelled assets higher.

The world’s wealthiest country accounted for 675,000 new millionaires, according to Credit Suisse Group AG’s Global Wealth Report. Japan and China contributed the second- and third-most, according to calculations based on US dollars.

A significant portion of wealth in the US is allocated to equities, which are getting a boost from rising values in the tech sector, Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, chief investment officer for international wealth management at Credit Suisse, said at an event in Zurich. Wealth per adult in the US has increased each year since 2008.

Overall, it has been a slow year for growth in wealth globally that underscored how investments in different asset classes affected returns. The US and China contributed the most to the total, adding $3.8 trillion and $1.9 trillion respectively. While most of the increase in China came from non-financial assets such real estate, stocks were a key contributor in the US.

“There are lots of people in the US that are just below the millionaire threshold, so it doesn’t take a lot to push them over it,” Anthony Shorrocks, the report’s author, said at the event. The large population, average wealth and level of inequality all support the country’s ability to generate millionaires.

Australia lost 124,000 millionaires as its currency slipped against the US dollar, and the U.K. saw 27,000 fall under the threshold on a weak pound and sluggish stock markets.

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