PARIS (AFP) — The number of millionaires worldwide rose 6.0 percent last year to 10.1 million, with the sharpest gains recorded in emerging market powerhouses India, China and Brazil, a study revealed Tuesday.
The 12th annual World Wealth Report, prepared by US investment bank Merrill Lynch and information technology group Capgemini, highlighted the rising clout of emerging market countries on the global financial stage.
It said assets held overall by the world's millionaires soared to 40.7 trillion dollars last year from 2006, with the average exceeding 4.0 million dollars for the first time.
The study also found that the number of people -- 103,320 -- with net assets of at least 30 million dollars rose by 8.8 percent in 2007.
It described global economic momentum was "solid" in 2007, both in terms of real GDP (gross domestic product) and market capitalisation -- "the two primary drivers of wealth generation.
"This year's report found that the number of high net worth individuals (with net assets, excluding primary residences, of at least 1.0 million dollars), and the amount of wealth they control, continued to increase in 2007, with the greatest wealth being created in the emerging markets of India, China and Brazil," said Robert McCann, president of Global Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch.
The report predicted that despite uncertainties in the global economic climate, "still-strong fundamentals in emerging markets are likely to sustain high levels of growth" in 2008.
It identified potential obstacles as growth constraints in mature markets and prospects for high inflation in emerging market countries.
The number of millionaires jumped 22.7 percent in India last year, 20.3 percent in China and 19.1 percent in Brazil.
By region, the greatest increase came in the Middle East, 15.6 percent, Eastern Europe, 14.3 percent, and Latin America, 12.2 percent.
The study attributed the increase in such areas to gains in commodity exports, "paired with growing international acceptance of emerging financial centers as significant global players."
Emerging markets also figured prominently in initial public offerings last year, during which more than 1,300 IPOs raised about 300 billion dollars. Emerging markets captured seven of the top 10 issues, according to the study.
China led the way in attracting net private capital inflows, taking in about 55 billion dollars in 2007.
By region, emerging markets in Europe were the most popular destinations, taking in 276 billion dollars while emerging Asia saw a 20 percent decline in private capital flows.
The report revealed increased interest in "green" investing, with total investment in clean technology rising 41 percent from 2005 to 117 billion dollars last year.
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