The gap between the richest countries in Europe and the poorest spread even wider during 2013 leading to fears that inequality is spreading across the Continent.
The wealth gap between the richest countries in Europe and the poorest has spread even wider during 2013, leading to fears that inequality across the continent is growing. In overall terms, according to a report by Julius Baer, wealth in Europe has now exceeded its pre-crisis level of €54.5 trillion ($68.7 trillion) in 2007 – up 1.7 per cent year-on-year at €56 trillion.
The rise in wealth hasn't been universally shared. While the likes of Switzerland and Germany have added over €1 trillion and €2 trillion in net wealth since their pre-crisis peaks, Greece and Spain have gone backwards. In Spain net wealth fell 28 per cent, knocking off €1.4 trillion in private wealth, and in Greece it crashed 23 per cent, falling by €169 billion.
In its inaugural study of European wealth trends, the Swiss bank also found that over two-thirds of Europe's wealth lies in Germany, the UK, France and Italy, with all four of them contributing 4.2 millionaires compared with just 49,000 millionaires in total from Slovenia, Cyprus, Slovakia and Finland.
Other eye-catching statistics include how much wealth the rich own in any one particular country. For instance, in Austria the richest 10 per cent own 62 per cent of the economy's wealth while its top 1 per cent own 40 per cent.
Julius Baer acknowledges that this is a major problem and states that the situation is only likely to get more pronounced in the coming years.
“Our analysts expect little less than 1 per cent growth in 2014 and 1.3 per cent growth in 2015. At the same time, if one assumes the rate of capital returns to remain close to its 200-year average of 4 to 5 per cent per year, it stands to reason that the concentration of European wealth is likely to increase persistently in the years to come,” the reports says.“In other words, the wealthy are likely to get an even larger slice of a gradually expanding wealth cake,” it adds.