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Poor India creates millionaires at fastest pace

Washington: India, with the world’s largest population of poor people living on less than a dollar a day, also created millionaires at the fastest pace in the world in 2007, though the world grew such high net worth individuals (HNWI) at the slowest pace in four years, reports Economic Times

Growing them at a pace of 22.7 percent, India added another 23,000 more millionaires in 2007 to its 2006 tally of 100,000 millionaires measured in dollars, according to an annual Merrill Lynch Cap Gemini report. In contrast, developmental agencies put the number of subsistence level Indians living on less than a dollar a day at 350 million and those living on less than $2 a day at 700 million. In other words, for every millionaire, India has about 7000 impoverished people.

According to Economic Times, while India’s HNWI population growth of 22.7 percent in 2007 exceeded China’s 20.3 percent and its own 2006 gains of 20.5 in 2006, it was still way below its giant neighbor in absolute number of millionaires. China counted nearly 500,000 HNWIs. Overall, the number of millionaires (not counting home values in their assets) in the world grew at 9.4 percent and crossed the 10 million mark for the first time. The United States, despite its economic woes, leads the pack with more than three million millionaires.

The combined wealth of the globe’s millionaires grew to nearly $41 trillion last year, which means their average wealth was more than $4 million, the highest it’s ever been.

“India led the world in HNWI population growth at 22.7 percent, driven by market capitalization growth of 118 percent and real GDP growth of 7.9 percent. Although India’s real GDP growth decelerated from 9.4 percent in 2006, current levels are considered more stable and sustainable,” the report observed.

It also ranked India’s two largest exchanges – the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange – among the world’s top 12 exchanges by end of 2007, “with growth rates of 122 percent and 115 percent respectively, that were boosted by initial public offering markets and heightened international interest.”

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