ZURICH (Reuters) – The world’s richest folks turned rather less nicely off final yr, in line with a report by UBS (UBSG.S) and PwC, as geopolitical turmoil and risky fairness markets decreased the wealth of billionaires for the primary time since 2015.
Billionaires’ wealth fell by 4.3% globally to $8.5 trillion final yr, the usPwC report discovered, with a pointy decline in Higher China, together with Hong Kong, and the Asia-Pacific area extra broadly.
Personal wealth in Hong Kong fell 4% in 2018 to $319.Eight billion, the report confirmed, with months of anti-government protests within the Chinese language-ruled metropolis and an financial recession clouding the outlook this yr.
Some Hong Kong tycoons have begun transferring private wealth offshore, Reuters reported in June, as issues deepen over the protests.
“We haven’t seen any vital outflows, we’ve been monitoring a few of these numbers frequently,” mentioned Amy Lo, UBS co-head of Asia Pacific wealth administration. “Our shoppers have been diversifying all alongside, it’s not within the final one yr.”
Personal banks together with the world’s largest wealth supervisor UBS have felt the results of U.S.-China commerce tensions and world political uncertainties, as shoppers final yr shied away from buying and selling and taking up debt in favor of hoarding money.
The web value of China’s richest dropped 12.8% in greenback phrases on the again of tumbling inventory markets, a weaker native forex and a slowdown in progress, the report discovered, knocking dozens off the billionaires checklist.
Regardless of the drop, China nonetheless produces a brand new billionaire each 2-2.5 days, UBS’s head of ultra-high web value shoppers, Josef Stadler, mentioned 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 US’ wealthiest.
“This report reveals the resilience of the U.S. economic system,” the place there have been 749 billionaires on the finish of 2018, mentioned John Matthews, head of personal wealth administration and ultra-high web value enterprise for UBS in the US.
Whereas a inventory market restoration from a steep drop in late 2018 has helped wealth managers enhance their belongings, the world’s richest households stay involved about world affairs from commerce tensions and Brexit to populism and local weather change and are holding extra of their cash in money.
“It’s doubtless that billionaire wealth will go up once more this yr,” mentioned Simon Smiles, UBS’s chief funding officer for ultra-wealthy shoppers, including it will doubtless be a extra muted enhance than the broader monetary market rally may recommend.
Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Further reporting by Elizabeth Dilts and Sumeet Chatterjee; Modifying by Mark Potter and Giles Elgood