For the first time in seven years, the wealth of global high-net-worth individuals dipped, falling 3 percent in 2018, a decline due primarily to a slump in equity-market performance and slowing economies in key regions, according to Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2019.

Most affected were the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. The Middle East was the only area to see an increase in both the level of wealth and the population of high-net-worth individuals.

Ultra-high-net-worth individuals (who represent 1 percent of the high-net-worth population) saw a 6 percent decline in their wealth, but accounted for most of the overall global decline (75 percent) because of economic and political turbulence, the report noted. Midtier millionaires (those with $5 million to $30 million) made up 20 percent of the total global loss.

“World Wealth Report 2019” covers 71 countries accounting for more than 98 percent of global gross national income and 99 percent of world stock market capitalization.

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for half of the $2 trillion global wealth falloff, with a 2 percent decrease in the population of high-net-worth individuals and a nearly 5 percent dip in their wealth.

China, the report noted, accounted for the bulk (nearly 53 percent) of the overall Asia-Pacific wealth decline and thus more than 25 percent of the overall decline in this cohort’s global wealth. Chinese markets lost more than $2.5 trillion in market capitalization amid uncertainties in U.S.-China relations and pressure on the yuan, the report said.

Japan and India also showed a decline in the wealth of the rich. India declined slightly as its economy slowed in 2018 and the country struggled to create jobs as unemployment rose to its highest in recent years, the report said.

Europe accounted for about one-quarter of the overall decline, or $500 billion. It had a nearly 0.5 percent decrease in the wealthy population and a 3 percent decrease in high-net-worth wealth.

The only bright spot was the Middle East, which recorded an increase in both the wealth (by 4 percent) and population (by 6 percent) of the high-net-worth space. The report attributed these patterns to improving oil prices in the region combined with its significant fiscal and structural reforms to combat the impact of declining oil prices. Saudi Arabia saw the wealthy population increase by 7 percent and their wealth by 4 percent. Kuwait saw an 8 percent spike in the population of the wealthy and a 6 percent rise in their wealth.

North America was one of three regions to record an increase in the population of the wealthy cohort (0.4 percent), after a 3 percent hike in gross domestic product (GDP). But high-net-worth individuals’ wealth decreased slightly, by 1 percent.

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