Millionaire population growth in India fastest worldwide in 2007

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Mumbai, Sep 25 (UNI) The growth of High Net-worth Individual (HNWI) population in India at 22.7 per cent was the fastest worldwide in 2007 with the country being home for 1,23,000 millionaires, according to the third annual Asia Pacific Wealth Report of Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.

Last year, the combined wealth of India's HNWIs rose 25.7 per cent to 440 billion dollars, the report released here said.

HNWIs are individuals with more than 1 million dollar in net assets, excluding their primary residence and consumables.

Rapid economic expansion, increased foreign investment and gains on the country's stock markets fuelled the jump in India's HNWI population last year. Indian HNWIs allocated 36 per cent of their assets to equities, among the highest in the nine regional markets covered by the report.

The recent turbulence in the global financial market and the downtrend witnessed in the Indian capital market could have an impact in this year's figures, though the country is expected to maintain a 7.9 per cent GDP growth R Vaidyanath, Head Capital markets of Capgemini India and Pradeep Dokania MD and head of Global Private client, told newsmen after releasing the report.

However, the impact might not be strong as only 30 per cent of the exposure of the HNWI was in equity market, they added.

''Despite dislocations in developed markets, the number of high net worth individuals in India grew at a faster rate than the global average,'' said Mr Dokania adding ''Domestic demand and Asia's appetite for commodities continue to drive wealth accumulation in India.'' MORE-UNI VK OBB AK AS1753

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