The Netherlands ranks lower in 2016 Global Wealth Report
The Netherlands dropped three spots in the list of richest countries in the world. With an average net worth of 80.180 euros per capita, it occupies the ninth place worldwide in the latest edition of Allianz’ Global Wealth Report.
Analysing household wealth worldwide
The report, compiled by the world's largest insurance company, analyses net household wealth in more than 50 countries around the world. It subtracts debt such as mortgages from gross assets like savings, investments and property to calculate net wealth per capita.
The study reveals how each country prefers to manage its financial assets by dividing the results into four categories: bank deposits, securities, insurance and pensions and other.
Switzerland is the richest country in the world for the third year in a row, followed by the United States and the United Kingdom. Scandinavian and Asian countries dominate the higher regions of the ranking.
Growth slowing down
While financial assets grew worldwide by 4,9 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, the Netherlands saw a significant decrease from 13,3 percent to 3,6 percent in the same period. In the three previous years, global financial assets grew at twice that pace, with an average rate of 9 percent.
The Netherlands also has a higher debt per capita (49.520 euros) than many other countries.
Slowing growth has hit Europe, the US and Japan the hardest. In Western Europe (3,2 percent) and the US (2,4 percent), growth more than halved in 2015. At the other end of the spectrum is Asia (excl. Japan), where financial assets expanded by 14,8 percent.
That region's lead over the rest of the world is only getting bigger. This also applies in relation to the world's other two up-and-coming regions - Latin America and Eastern Europe - where average growth was only half that in Asia.
Richest growing richer
Despite the slowing growth, the report also shows that the world’s most affluent are growing increasingly richer. Their share of total wealth has been growing continuously. The tip of the wealth pyramid is moving further away from the rest, and is getting smaller at the same time.
Shrinking middle class
In many industrial countries, the middle class appears to be shrinking, participating less and less in overall wealth.
This trend applies mainly to the euro crisis countries (Italy, Ireland, Greece) and the traditional industrialised nations (the US, Japan, the UK). The reason for this is the financial crisis and its aftermath.
Allianz chief economist Michael Heise made the following comments on the subject.
“From the point of view of wealth distribution, monetary policy made a bad situation worse. Why? One side effect of ultra-loose monetary policy is ever-rising asset prices such as stocks. But investments in equities tend to be held primarily by already wealthy households. The average saver depends more on duller savings instrument such as bank deposits – which are interest bearing. But interest rates were more or less abolished after the financial crisis. The result is growing wealth inequality.”
Allianz Global Wealth Report Top 10 countries
3) United Kingdom