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MENA wealth growth stalls in 2016

* MENA wealth region witnessed a negative growth of –0.5 per cent

* But it has grown by 162 per cent since 2000, well above the global average of 119 per cent

* Global wealth growth took a dive after 2008 recession, has not bounced back yet

In 2016, a year in which economies and the business world were largely challenged by many minor and major events, overall growth in global wealth remained limited, while the MENA region witnessed a negative growth of –0.5 per cent, according to a recent report.

In the region, which has been marred by war, militancy and economic turmoil, total household wealth reached $3,745 billion in the 12 months to mid-2016. But it has grown by 162 per cent since 2000, well above the global average of 119 per cent, according the figures from annual Global Wealth Report by The Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI).

2008 crisis aftermath

Global wealth growth was brisk and quick prior to the Great Depression of the millennium, But following the burst of US mortgage bubble, growth suddenly took a dive from double-digit rates that it has not yet bounced back from.

“In mid-2016, the slowdown of the global economy and the likelihood of interest rate rises were dampening the future prospects for household wealth worldwide. It is not surprising, therefore, that this year continues the pattern of low single-digit changes in wealth experienced since 2013,” Zurich-based financial services company’s think tank said in its report released last week.

Total global wealth in 2016 edged upwards by 1.4 per cent or $3.5 trillion to a total of $256trn, but the rise was very much in line with the increase in the world’s adult population. Accordingly, average wealth per adult of $52,800 remains in line with last year’s figures.

Also Read: Global economic growth to hit “historically low levels in 2017”

MENA perspective

Saudi Arabia ranked first with an estimated wealth of $ 725bn, closely followed by the UAE with a wealth of $597bn. Egypt’s total wealth declined to $351bn this year, having peaked at $511bn in 2010.

Qatar and Kuwait’s total wealth is estimated to be $210bn and $288bn respectively. Bahrain’s net household wealth is estimated at $31bn.

In the next five years, household net wealth in the MENA region is expected to increase by a further 53 per cent, or nearly nine per cent annually.

Average wealth growth

In the region, wealth per adult increased by 67 per cent, in line with the global average. However, the region currently accounts for 5.9 per cent of the world’s adults, but just 1.4 per cent of global wealth.

Qatar recorded the highest average wealth per adult of $161,700 in mid-2016, while UAE followed closely with $151,100. However, both the countries saw a small drop of -0.4 per cent and -0.3 per cent respectively from mid last year.

Kuwait placed third in the region with an average wealth per adult of $119,000, grew by 0.2 per cent since last year.  The average wealth per adult in Bahrain fell by –1.1 per cent from mid-last year to $50,600.

Average wealth per adult in Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the region, also fell by –0.6 per cent, touching $40,600 while Egypt’s wealth per adult saw a massive drop of –13 per cent, touching $6,300.

The number of millionaires in the region has grown by 330 per cent since 2000 and is expected to reach 460,000 by 2021.

Also Read: ‘Recession in 2017’: Chief economist warns