Billionaires get richer while millionaires get poorer - report

AFP Photo / Ernesto Benavides
While many millionaires got poorer in the last year, billionaires did just fine, overcoming market and economic turmoil.

The number of people with at least $30 million in their pockets grew to 187,380, while their total wealth fell 1.8 percent to $25.8 trillion – a sum bigger than the combined size of the U.S. and Chinese economies, the Wealth-X research company said in a report on Monday.

At the same time billionaires became even richer. Their number grew 9.4 percent to 2,160 people with the combined wealth of $6.2 trillion, according to the Singapore-based firm that provides intelligence on the ultra-rich to banks, fundraisers and luxury retailers

As Europe struggles to overcome the economic crisis the well-to-do are moving away from speculative investments into private companies, commodities and property, says Wealth-X.

"Even at a billion or two billion, they have a much larger entourage, they have much more in the way of investment advice," Mykolas Rambus, Wealth-X's chief executive officer, told Reuters.Asia suffered the worst regional loss of wealth, the report says.

The wealth of the rich fell 6.8 percent to $6.25 trillion due to weaker equity markets and lower export demand from the West, the report says.

While in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, fortunes of the rich grew in North America (up 2.8 percent to $8.88 trillion) and Oceania (up 4.4 percent to $475 billion).

However the decrease of wealth in Japan, China and India will gradually reverse and the total Asian wealth is forecast to surpass the US combined wealth by 2020, the report said.