Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Danes' net financial wealth is highest in the EU but...

At the end of June 2021, Denmark's National Bank (central bank) reported that Danish households' net financial wealth was kr (krone) 6,453bn in December 2020. In the EU, the average Dane's financial net wealth is in first place, followed by the Netherlands, Sweden, Luxembourg and Belgium. Ireland has the 8th ranking.

However, average (mean) and median provide very different results — the median is the middle value with 50% of values above it, and 50% below. It's a useful metric when there is significant inequality.

The Danish net financial wealth per capita was €174,700 compared with an EU average of €60,500 — or almost 3 times.

The Euro was worth 7.44 DKK at end of December 2020 according to the European Central Bank (ECB).

Net financial wealth is the difference between households' financial assets (e.g. pensions, shares and deposits) and liabilities (debt), and corresponds to kr. 1.3m per Dane (calculated as households' total net financial wealth at the end of 2020 divided by the number of persons aged 15 or over on 1 January 2020.)

Danes' debt is second highest in the EU. However, the central bank says the vast majority of the debt is bank and mortgage debt with real estate collateral (approximately 86%). Thus, the Danes' debt is largely offset by the value of housing wealth, which is not included in financial wealth.

The Danes' financial assets top the list of EU countries where households with large debts are often also the countries where households have large financial assets.

The assets of Danish households are no exception; with an average of kr. 1.88m per Dane, they are the largest in the EU.

Despite the coronavirus, the value of household financial assets increased in all EU countries in 2020, with the exception of Spain.

Allianz Global Wealth Report 2020

Allianz — the biggest German insurance firm — in its 2020 report notes on net financial assets "The richest 10% worldwide – 520m people in the countries in scope with average net financial assets of €240,000 — together own roughly 84% of total net financial assets in 2019; among them, the richest 1% — with average net financial assets of — €1.2m – own almost 44%. The development since the turn of the millennium is striking: While the share of the richest decile has fallen by seven percentage points, that of the richest percentile has increased by three percentage points. So the superrich do indeed seem to be moving further and further away from the rest of society."

According to the Allianz Wealth Equity Indicator (AWEI), the US is the most unequal of all the countries in the sample. "Japan, on the other hand, sits on the opposite side of the spectrum as the most equal society when it comes to wealth.

Some other seemingly equal societies also score fairly low on tackling wealth distribution. Who would have thought that Denmark, Sweden and Germany would face such issues? Or that Slovakia, Poland, Spain and Italy would have a fairly even distribution?

But that’s exactly how it is."

Comparing the median chart below with the chart 'USA back on the wealth throne' above, the United States plunges on the median chart while Denmark falls from it to the 22nd ranking.

In 2019 the top 20% of earners (fifth quintile) received almost two fifths (38%) of median equivalised disposable income, adjusted for price differences (PPS), in the EU27. The first quintile got 7.9%. 

Switzerland (not an EU member) was at 39% in the fifth quintile; Ireland was at 38%, and 8.2% and 9.4% respectively.   

Switzerland's median PPS income per inhabitant was at 41,259; Ireland 25,528; Denmark 30,717 and Germany 23,515.

According to the IMF, Switzerland had the highest GDP per capita in the world in 2020. Adjusted for price differences it was at 75,880 international dollars. The US was at 68,310; Denmark 61,500; Netherlands 60,460;  Germany 56,900 and France 49,500.

Luxembourg at 122,740; Singapore 102,740 and Ireland 99,240, reflect unreliable data.