Allianz study ranks South Africa 36th wealthiest out of 50 countries

PUBLISHED: Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:43:04 GMT

By: Allianz Group

S.A Fast Facts

South Africa’s net financial assets per capita was R111.640 in 2016.

The country’s financial assets grew by 4.7% while global financial assets climbed above 7%.

South Africa’s debt ratio fell below 45%.

The eighth Allianz Global Wealth Report 2017 has ranked South Africa 36th wealthiest out of 50 countries. The country maintains its ranking from the previous year. The report, which was released today, September 27, 2017, puts the assets and liabilities of households in more than 50 countries under the microscope, including South Africa.

This performance is due to the market’s financial asset growth that remained lackluster for a second year in a row at 4.7%. Although it was slightly higher than the year before, it was well below the inflation rate of 6.6%. Globally, 2016 was a politically unstable and very turbulent year, but private wealth shrugged it off: after a weaker 2015 (+4.7%), financial assets grew again by 7.1% to a new record high of almost EUR 170 trillion.

At R111.640, South Africa’s net financial assets per capita, is higher than other BRICS countries except for China. However, South Africa’s net financial assets of households grew by only 5.3% – one of the slowest rates among the BRICS countries, which is also below the average of advanced markets.

The growth of liabilities slowed down to 3.2% as South African households continued to show some debt discipline. This has resulted in the debt ratio falling below 45% for the first time in ten years. Even though the country’s households have trimmed their debt ratio by 10% over the last decade, its overall level remains elevated, and higher than the emerging market average of around 35%.

The country’s relatively high average wealth has to be taken with a pinch of salt, as it is one of the countries where wealth is unevenly distributed. More than 70% of all net financial assets are owned by 10% of the population at the top of the wealth distribution. Whilst, globally, only the US displays a higher share of wealth, the global average is about 53%. At the top of the list, a change of the guard occurred in 2016, with the USA capturing the top spot from Switzerland (by a razor-thin margin). Otherwise, the list gives the usual picture, with Scandinavian and Asian countries dominating.

Top 20 in 2016 by…

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Daily Update
Get the best of CNBC Africa sent straight to your inbox with breaking business news, insights and updates from experts across the continent.
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services. By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.