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Wealth of millionaires surges 10.6% to top $70 trillion for the first time

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 6/19/2018 David Carrig

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The combined wealth of the world’s millionaires rose for a sixth straight year and topped $70 trillion for the first time ever in 2017 thanks to an improving global economy and strong stock market performance, according to a new report released Tuesday. 

The world’s millionaires saw their wealth grow 10.6 percent to a record $70.2 trillion, the global consulting firm Capgemini reports in its annual World Wealth Report 2018.

The number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) — which Capgemini defines as those having investable assets of $1 million or more (excluding primary residence, collectibles, consumables and consumer durables) —  grew almost 10 percent, or 1.6 million, to 18.1 million in 2017.  

"High net worth individuals around the world enjoyed investment returns above 20 percent for the second year in a row," Anirban Bose, head of Capgemini’s financial services global strategic business unit, said in a statement. The report's analysis confirms that "global HNWI wealth would exceed $100 trillion by 2025,” Bose wrote. 

The United States, Japan, Germany and China are the four largest markets for millionaires, accounting for 61 percent of the world’s high net worth individuals. 

The U.S. leads the pack with 5.3 million HNWIs, a 10 percent increase from 2016.   

But the Asia-Pacific region has the most HNWI millionaires overall as Japan saw a 9 percent increase (3.2 million), China 11 percent (1.3 million) and India 20 percent (263,000).  

The report researches trends among the wealthy through market research, data analysis and a  survey of more than 2,600 HNWIs across 19 countries. 

Other interesting highlights from the report : 

• Wealth is becoming even more concentrated as the ultra-wealthy, those with $30 million or more in investable assets, saw the greatest growth. The wealth of a mere 1 percent of the 18.1 HNWIs, or 174,800 individuals, grew 12 percent in 2017 and represented about 35 percent of total HNWI wealth. 

• Enthusiasm for digital currency is growing. 29 percent of HNWIs say they have a high degree of interest in holding cryptocurrencies and another 27 percent were somewhat interested. 

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