Mon dieu/Ach mein Gott! Switzerland now richest nation in the world

With the franc's relentless appreciation against the euro, the average Swiss resident is now worth $500,000.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 27 Oct 2011
Investment bank Credit Suisse has just named Switzerland the richest nation in the world. The value of the Swiss franc has skyrocketed over the past decade, more than doubling against the dollar since 2000.

In Switzerland, the streets really could be paved with gold. Over 4% of the world's 84,700 super-rich - folks holding assets of more than $50m - live there. But even your average Joe is feeling pretty flush, with an average net worth of more than $500,000 (£320,000).  That's a lot of cheese, especially when it's full of holes.

Of course, these figures are somewhat misleading. There aren't daily showers of bank notes in Zurich's central square. In fact, last month the Swiss government took the courageous step of pegging its currency to the euro. Imported goods (and that's most of them if you're Swiss) were getting very pricey, and the country's big firms (namely Nestle, which lost 15% of its turnover in the first nine months of 2007 due to currency fluctuations) were over-exposed.

Australia was also named in the report. The antipodean nation has been doing very well out of selling its mineral wealth to the Chinese, consequently its currency has appreciated sharply against the dollar to take second place on the list of wealthiest nations. Bonza, me old cobber. Third place goes to Norway, a nation so sensible as to defy easy caricature. Boo.

Other factoids of note:
.    the Credit Suisse study found that total global wealth rose 14% to $231tn between January 2010 and June 2011
.    over the next five years, global wealth is expected to rise by 50% to US$345tn
.    wealth per adult will increase by 40% to reach US$70,700 per person over the same period
.    the world's richest 1% account for 44% of global assets
.    Asia Pacific accounts for 54% of global wealth creation since 2010

So for anyone out there holding triple Swiss/Australian/Norwegian nationality, things could hardly be better...

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