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South Africans got richer in 2017: report

South Africans got richer in 2017.
South Africans got richer in 2017.
Image: Giphy

Financial assets of South African households grew by 12.3% in 2017‚ the fastest increase in four years and almost three times the pace of the year before.

These statistics are contained in the ninth edition of the Allianz Global Wealth Report‚ which also stated that liabilities for South African households increased by 5.1% in 2017‚ broadly in line with last year’s average.

The report analyses the asset and debt situation of households in more than 50 countries. The report said as a result‚ the debt ratio of households in South Africa remained at 45%.

It said in the last ten years‚ the debt ratio declined by almost 10 percentage points as a result of improved debt discipline of South African households. However‚ the country’s debt ratio still stood considerably above the emerging countries average of 37%.

The report said with net financial asset per capita of EUR 7.770 (R131 030.99) South Africa came in 37th on the list of the richest countries‚ rising one rung over the previous year and swapping places with Bulgaria.

“At the top of the list‚ Switzerland re-captured the top spot that it lost the year before to the US. In general‚ European countries performed better in 2017 than in previous years due to a stronger euro‚” the report said. The report said there was a noticeable shift in investment behaviour in 2017. After savers had largely ignored shares and investment funds in the post-crisis years‚ 2017 saw significant inflows into this asset class.

The report said securities enjoyed by far the strongest growth of all asset classes in 2017‚ increasing by 12.2% in total and representing over 42% of all savings at the end of 2017. This is followed in second place by receivables from insurance companies and pensions‚ which account for 29% of the asset portfolio and grew by 5.2% last year.

While investors rediscovered the capital markets‚ bank deposits fell out of favour with households around the globe.The report said only 42% of new investments went into banks‚ compared with 63% the year before.

“Savers finally recognized the signs of the times‚” said Kathrin Brandmeir‚ co-author of the report.

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