BUSINESS

Asia The World's Wealthiest Region For First Time In Recent History: Report

Shoppers exit a Dior shop Wednesday, June 13, 2012, in Shanghai, China. Chinese consumers can afford to splash out more on hi
Shoppers exit a Dior shop Wednesday, June 13, 2012, in Shanghai, China. Chinese consumers can afford to splash out more on higher quality products, but also expect better value for money than in the past, according to a study by the American Chamber of Commerce. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

For the first time in recent history, Asia is the wealthiest region in the world, according to a new report.

The region, which includes Australia, has $74 trillion in wealth, surpassing Europe, which saw its wealth plunge 14 percent over the past year, according to Credit Suisse's new Global Wealth Report. In addition, the number of millionaires in China is projected to double by 2017.

The U.S. has reasons to celebrate, too. America gained the most wealth over the past year out of any country, and the U.S. claims one-third of the global top one percent in wealth, the largest share out of any country, according to the report.

Asia's wealth boost may even be helping the U.S. economy. When Asian consumers have more money, they can spend more on U.S. exports. Moreover, about two-thirds of the world's population lives in Asia, so their growing wealth means that their living standards are catching up to Americans'.

The wealth picture in China is not all rosy though. Not only is the Chinese economy slowing, but many Chinese millionaires also are considering leaving. Indeed, more than half of Chinese millionaires are either thinking about emigrating from China or already have made plans to do so, according to a Bank of China survey last year, cited by the Wall Street Journal.

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