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Wealth report Swiss knocked off 'wealthiest citizens' perch

Woman hold gold mobile phone

Swiss wealth remains relatively constant despite losing top place in the Allianz rankings.

(© Keystone / Gaetan Bally)

The strengthening dollar in 2018 was responsible for knocking the Swiss off their perch as the world’s wealthiest citizens, according to a wealth report by German insurer Allianz. The average Swiss was worth €173,438 (CHF190,087) last year compared to €184,411 for the average American.

The figure measures net wealth per capita, stripping out debt that each person owes on average.

Switzerland and the United States have been trading top place in the Allianz wealth rankingsexternal link for the last few years. Because the figures are converted into euros for the report, the relative strengths of national currencies play a part in determining which country comes out on top.

Swiss citizens still enjoy the highest gross wealth, at €266,318, compared to €227,364 in the US, but Swiss debt, mainly in the form of outstanding mortgage loans, is much higher than in America.

Switzerland is one of four countries in western Europe where debt exceeds total economic output (128%). Only Denmark is more indebted per capita in the region (134.2%).

On a global level, net financial assets last year fell slightly from 2017’s record high of €132.4 trillion to €129.8 trillion. Allianz puts this down to heightened trade and other geopolitical tensions that saw share prices tumble around 12% in 2018.

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