US beats Switzerland in ‘richest nation’ rating, while global wealth slumps

The US is now the world’s richest nation, beating the Swiss, while the rest of the world is losing its wealth, falling victim to the political muddle surrounding Brexit and the US-China trade war, a new report shows.

According to the latest Global Wealth Report published by German insurer Allianz, the average net financial assets of people living in the United States is €184,411 (US$203,128) per capita against €173,838 for Switzerland. The figures given are for 2018.

The rise of the US to the top of the wealth list is largely due to the strength of the dollar, the report claims. It also states that US households are the main driver in the increase in the global flow of funds – two-thirds of all savings in industrialized countries originated in the US. Fresh savings set a record globally, increasing by 22 percent to more than €2,700 billion. The report attributes this to last year’s US tax reform, which was followed by US citizens upping their fresh savings by an eyebrow-raising 46 percent.

At the same time, while the US took the top spot in the report, Switzerland continues to have the highest gross financial assets per capita in the world at €266,318, against €227,364 for the United States. However, debt in Switzerland is far greater than in the US due to the number of mortgages.

Despite their neck-and-neck performance, both Switzerland and the US are way ahead of third-place Singapore. Its total net financial assets per capita amounted to a mere €100,370.

Prior to this, the world’s wealth crown was worn by Switzerland, which took it in 2017 – from the United States.

Overall, the Allianz report is rather pessimistic regarding the global wealth outlook, calling it “a sad premiere.” It stated that the world’s financial asset growth in 2018 was down by 0.1 percent for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008, placing the blame on the trade war between US and China, Brexit uncertainty increased geopolitical tensions and “the tightening of monetary conditions.”