Wealth Inequality in Russia Highest in The World, Report Says

The Credit Suisse Research Institute said in its annual review published on Tuesday that Russia has world’s highest levels of wealth inequality, surpassing the United States and China, The Moscow Times reports.

The financial services company’s report says that despite the country’s modest average wealth, an estimated 83% of the wealth of the country is now owned by its richest decile. 1% of the wealthiest citizens owns almost 60% of all material and financial assets, the report said.

“This is a high level, above the figure of 76% for the United States, which has one of the most concentrated distributions of wealth among advanced nations,” the report said. “Interestingly, it is also higher than the top decile share of 60% in China.”

The number of billionaires in Russia grew from 74 to 110 between mid-2018 and mid-2019, while the number of millionaires rose from 172,000 to 246,000.

Credit Suisse estimated Russia’s average financial assets per person at $10,570, and its average non-financial assets at $19,530. It added that personal debt grew rapidly in 2000-2007 but slowed after, making up 9% of gross assets.

“In the early years of this century, the well-being of households in Russia grew rapidly against the backdrop of rapid economic growth due to the favorable dynamics of global commodity markets,” says Credit Suisse. Until 2014, the average level of wealth per capita added 22% per year.

However, the subsequent oil prices and the devaluation of the ruble depreciated money and assets: between 2013 and 2015, average wealth decreased by 44%. However, further stabilization of the ruble again led to an increase in per capita welfare, albeit at a slower rate, Credit Suisse notes.