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Global household wealth drops for first time since 2008 crisis - study

Sep 19 2019 05:00

Household wealth excluding property in the world's 53 largest countries fell slightly last year, in a first since the financial crisis of 2008, German insurance giant Allianz said on Wednesday.

The value of ordinary people's bank deposits, pension savings and stock investments dropped 0.1% year-on-year in 2018, to around €172.5trn, Allianz said in its annual global wealth report.

The study did not include the value of properties owned by households.

Emerging economies saw a sharper fall in financial assets than developed nations, with a 3.4% slump in China largely to blame.

"It looks as though trade conflicts have put a sudden stop to poorer countries' progress in catching up," Allianz said.

Around the world, the measure was influenced by falling prices for financial assets like shares, shaving three trillion euros off global wealth.

But that headwind was almost balanced by an inflow of new cash to the tune of €2.7trn.

In Europe, wealth fell by €60bn, sapped by fears of a no-deal Brexit and a potential recession in Germany, Italy's political upsets, the "yellow vests" crisis in France and global trade tensions, Allianz said.

Meanwhile American households' wealth was swelled by tax cuts, allowing them to increase the amount they put aside by 46% year-on-year, or $2.0trn.

European households have defied low interest rates to continue socking money away in bank deposits.

That poses a problem for the European Central Bank, whose low rates are aimed at incentivising people to spend rather than save.

global economy


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