Dip among super-wealthy Indians as rupee weakens

MUMBAI // The number of super-wealthy individuals in India declined by 5 per cent last year as the rupee weakened and stocks lost value, Knight Frank said on Wednesday.

But these 6,020 ultra-rich people are expected to double over the next decade.

The global property consul­tancy says there will be 12,341 ultra-wealthy individuals in India by 2025, a rise of 105 per cent on last year’s figure of 6,020, according to its Wealth Report 2016.

There were 6,337 of those wealthy people in India in 2014 – people worth US$30 million and above, excluding their primary residence – according to Knight Frank’s analysis.

“Even though the rate of growth in the number of wealthy Indians over the next 10 years in India will slow down, it will still be much higher than the global average,” said Samantak Das, the chief economist and national director of research at Knight Frank India.

“Globally, India’s share of the ultra-wealthy population, which was 1 per cent in 2005, will continue to grow and is expected to increase to 5 per cent in 2025.”

The number of highly wealthy people in India has surged by 340 per cent in the past decade, according to Knight Frank.

But Mr Das said the report revealed that the proportion of wealthy individuals looking to buy another residential pro­perty during the next year was only 16 per cent compared with 24 per cent last year.

“It’s very clear that it is not only the budget segment or the mid- segment, but even in the minds of wealthy Indians the interest for residential property is slightly subdued,” said Mr Das. He said there seemed to be growing interest in commercial property among wealthy Indians.

The UK is the second most popular country for Indians to buy residential properties after India, followed by the UAE and Singapore, tied in third place. Knight Frank also revealed that the wealthy thought that Singapore, followed by Dubai, was best placed to compete with London and New York as the most important global cities over the next decade.

The wealth report comes after Forbes on Tuesday published its annual ranking of billionaires, showing that Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries, was the richest of the 84 Indian billionaires. With a net worth of $20.6 billion, he in 35th place globally and “retained his position as India’s richest person despite shares of his oil and gas giant Reliance Industries taking a hit due to lower oil prices”, according to Forbes.

Dilip Shanghvi, the founder and managing director of Sun Pharmaceuticals, is the second richest Indian at $16.9bn.

There is huge disparity in wealth in India, with a large portion of the population living below the poverty line, while high levels of riches are in the hands of a few people.

Nicholas Holt, Knight Frank’s head of research for Asia Pacific, said that last year had been “difficult” and that the company had noted a decline globally in the number of very wealthy people for the first time in 10 years of producing its wealth report.

But the 5 per cent drop in the number of wealthy in India was steeper than the global average of 3 per cent, partly because of the rupee’s weakness, Mr Holt said.

The number of ultra-wealthy people in the UAE fell by 3 per cent last year to 195. However, that will grow by 50 per cent in 10 years, to 293, according to the Knight Frank report.


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