Israel Rich in Millionaires

YERUSHALAYIM -

While Israel leads the OECD countries in population below the poverty line (with more on the way), it’s rich in millionaires, according to a report in Globes.

Israel ranked 10th among the 15 countries in the world with the most millionaires as a percentage of the number of households, The Boston Consulting Group said in its report “Maintaining Momentum in a Complex World: Global Wealth 2013.”

Some 3.8% of the households in the country of 7.7 million people are millionaires.

The news parallels a raft of austerity measures which experts say will drive tens of thousands more under the poverty line and exacerbate economic inequalities.

“Israel had about 84,000 millionaire households in 2012, and there are plenty of thriving businesses here to keep them afloat, from booming technology companies to exploiters of natural gas fields. The country is also a big exporter of diamonds and agricultural products.

“The Israeli economy has been going strong, though there are signs that things are changing. Many Israelis believe the cost of living needs to come down and are unhappy that the government plans to raise taxes. That may be one reason why Idan Ofer, considered the wealthiest person in Israel (though his brother, Eyal, is believed to be equally wealthy) is moving to the UK, which is tax-friendly to wealthy foreigners. The two brothers inherited their father’s shipping fortune and art collection following Sammy Ofer’s death in June 2011,” the report observes.

The Boston Consulting Group says that global household wealth grew by 7.8% in 2012, to $135.5 trillion, double the 3.6% growth in 2011 in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Qatar topped the rankings with 50,000 millionaire households, 14.3% of all households, out of a population of 2 million. Switzerland came in second, with 395,000 millionaire households, 11.6% of all households, out a population of 8 million; Kuwait, with 63,000 millionaire households 11.5% of all households, out a population of 2.7 million; Hong Kong, with 231,000 millionaire households, 9.4% of all households, out a population of 7.2 million; and Singapore, with 98,000 millionaire households, 8.2% of all households, out a population of 5.4 million.

The U.S., with 5.87 million millionaire households, has the largest number of such households, but amounting to only 4.9% of all households. The same proportion of million households is found in Bahrain and Taiwan, followed by 4% of households in the UAE. Behind Israel are Oman, Belgium, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands.