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China closes gap with the USA in the Billions race



The US has more dollar-based billionaires than any other country, but China has taken the lead, according to Schweizer Bank

UBS

Annual Report of the Group AG on the status of Megarich.

Overall, billionaires' global wealth rose in 2017 to a record $ 1.4 trillion to $ 8.9 trillion. This year, economies around the world grew strongly, stock markets rose and bonds rose. Yields remained low as central banks mostly maintained monetary policy in a low inflation environment.

The financial backdrop was less favorable this year, as global equity markets were mostly below the year and bond yields higher. The prosperity of billionaires, however, is expected to continue rising this year. The wealth that the billionaires generated came mainly from their own businesses and not from the financial markets, according to UBS. The US tax cuts that came into effect this year are likely to impact as well.

The US added 22 billionaires last year, bringing the total to 585. "This could be due to pressure on hedge funds, where both fees and performance have declined," says the report, co-authored by consulting firm PwC. He also cited "stealth wealth," which is not so easy to see given that companies are staying private longer.

The explosion of Chinese billionaires continued last year with a net gain of 55 to 373. supported by the growth of e-commerce, technology and real estate. In 2006, there were only 1

6 billionaires in the world's second largest economy.

"A new cohort of Chinese entrepreneurs challenges Silicon Valley in the context of growing tensions in commerce and intellectual property," the report said.

The Results The report appears to support UBS's business strategy outlined at an investor conference on Thursday to sharpen its focus on managing money for the ultra in the US and Asia. "Only the expansion in the US ultra-high-yield segment should deliver a significant net new money contribution over the next three years," said UBS.

Western Europe recorded a rise of 17 billionaires to 414 last year. The number of Brazilian billionaires fell by two to 42.

It is not just the richest wealthy who see their assets rise. In a report last week, UBS's Swiss rival, Credit Suisse Group AG, said the number of millionaires worldwide rose 2.3 million to 42.2 million in the 12 months to mid-2018.

The US has a bigger lead millionaires than billionaires. In mid-2018, it had more than 17 million millionaires, far more than second-placed China with 3.5 million.

Please contact Brian Blackstone at brian.blackstone@wsj.com


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