Middle East millionaire club grows as combined riches top $2.42 trillion

The number of millionaires globally has leapt to an all-time high of 16.5 million. (Reuters)
Updated 29 September 2017
0

Middle East millionaire club grows as combined riches top $2.42 trillion

LONDON: The number of millionaires in the Middle East rose by 4.8 percent last year as it rained dollars for high net worth individuals globally, research shows.
The World Wealth Report by global consultancy firm Capgemini revealed that there are now 642,800 high net worth individuals (HNWI) — people with assets of $1 million, excluding their primary residence, collectibles and consumables — across the Middle East.
The rise, however, was the smallest of any region in the world, with the number of millionaires globally having leapt to an all-time high of 16.5 million.
Africa saw an 8.1 percent increase in the number of millionaires, North America an 7.8 percent jump, with Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific all seeing a rise of between 7 and 8 percent.
The wealth of Middle Eastern millionaires rose by 5 percent to $2.42 trillion; that increase was however also the lowest of any global region.
Saudi Arabia has the most millionaires of all Middle Eastern countries, with 176,000 living in the Kingdom, up from 167,000 in 2015. That figure puts it in at 16th in the table of countries hosting HNWIs, a drop from 15th place in 2015.
Kuwait is the only other country from the region to make the top 25, in at 17th with 159,000 millionaires, 13,000 more than the year before.
The reason for the increase in Middle Eastern millionaires, at a time when the oil price fell, was the strong performance of equity markets in 2016, after declines in the previous year, as well as the growth in gross domestic product (GDP).
Globally it was a good year for those with stacks of cash, as some 1.15 million people joined the ranks of the rich, helping the number of millionaires reach an all-time high of around 16.5 million, a jump of 8 percent, with a record total wealth of $63.5 trillion
The US, Japan, Germany and China boast the highest numbers and together make up for almost two-thirds of the total.
In the US alone there are as many as 4.8 million millionaires, up from 4.46 million, while the number of millionaires in China rose to 1.13 million from just over 1 million.
The Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America contributed equally to the rise in wealth, with Russia, Brazil and Canada reversing course from declines a year ago, the report showed.
Russia, helped by a rebound in its stock market, saw both the number of its millionaires and their wealth grow by about 20 percent, pushing Saudi Arabia back a spot in the top-25 table.
France overtook the UK in the top five in terms of the number of millionaires, helped by a recovery in real estate, while Sweden knocked Singapore — which saw a decline in its equity markets — out of top 25.


Israeli planes hit 25 targets in response to Gaza rocket fire

Updated 20 June 2018
0

Israeli planes hit 25 targets in response to Gaza rocket fire

JERUSALEM: Israeli jets struck 25 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Wednesday after militants launched rockets and mortar shells at Israeli territory, the military said.
Two Hamas security men were lightly hurt in one air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, residents said. No casualties were reported in Israel after one of the most intense recent barrages of militant rocket launches and Israeli air strikes.
Air raid sirens and Israeli phone warning applications sounded throughout the pre-dawn hours.
The military counted 30 rockets and mortar shells fired at Israeli territory and said its Iron Dome anti-missile shield intercepted seven rockets.
Since its last war with Gaza’s dominant Hamas in 2014, Israel has stepped up efforts to prevent cross-border attacks, improving rocket interceptors and investing in technologies for detecting and destroying guerrilla tunnels.
In recent weeks, Palestinians have sent kites dangling coal embers or burning rags across the Gaza border to set fire to arid farmland and forests, others have carried small explosive devices in a new tactic that has caused extensive damage.
At least 127 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30 and the men sending the kites over the fence believe they have found an effective new weapon.
Israel’s deadly tactics in confronting the weekly Friday protests have drawn international condemnation.
Palestinians say the protests are an outpouring of rage by people demanding the right to return to homes their families fled or were driven from following the founding of Israel 70 years ago.
Israel says the demonstrations are organized by the Islamist group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip and denies Israel’s right to exist. Israel says Hamas has intentionally provoked the violence, a charge Hamas denies.
Around two million people live in Gaza, most of them the stateless descendants of refugees from what is now Israel. The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.
Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the strip, citing security reasons, which has caused an economic crisis and collapse in living standards there over the past decade.