NEW YORK - An additional 600,000 millionaires were created around
the world in 2004, with North America and Asia leading Europe
in the wealth stakes, according to a report.
There are now an estimated 8.3 million people who can claim to
have one million dollars, excluding their main residence, according
to the 2005 World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.
The report estimated the net worth of the world's wealthy elite
at 30.2 trillion dollars, an 8.2% rise on 2003.
North America has about 2.7 million people worth at least one
million dollars - high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) - 10% more
than the last report and overtaking Europe, which has 2.6 million.
The Asia-Pacific region has 2.3 million, up more than 8.0 percent,
and Asia's growth rate was twice as fast as Europe's.
"The two main drivers of personal wealth creation - economic
growth and market capitalisation - worked together to generate
the strongest growth in high-net-worth wealth that we've seen
in more than three years," said James Gorman, an executive
vice president of Merrill Lynch.
"Looking regionally, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and
India saw the highest rates of HNWI population growth, while wealthy
people in South Africa and the Middle East benefited from the
rise in commodity and oil prices.
"Growth generally lagged in Europe, with only two nations
- the United Kingdom and Spain - showing growth comparable to
the worldwide rate," Gorman said.
Bertrand Lavayssiere, managing director of global financial services
for the Capgemini consultancy, said that while Europe was lagging
because of high unemployment and slow economic growth, the emerging
nations Brazil, China, India and Russia "continued to emerge
as an economic force and create wealth in the process".