Bloomberg News

Italians Among Richest Even After Decline in Wealth

December 15, 2011

(Corrects fourth paragraph to indicate international comparisons are ratio to household income and not in euros in story that ran Dec. 14.)

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Italians remain among the richest and least-indebted people in the world, even as net household wealth declined last year, according to the Bank of Italy.

Total household net wealth fell 1.5 percent in 2010 from the previous year to 8.6 trillion euros ($11.2 trillion) when adjusted for inflation, and was down 3.2 percent from its peak at the end of 2007, the central bank said in a report released in Rome today. Net wealth probably rose 0.4 percent in nominal terms in the first half of 2011, according to the report.

Gross household wealth at the end of 2010 amounted to 9.53 trillion euros, or almost 400,000 euros per family, with real- estate accounting for almost two-thirds, the Bank of Italy said.

Italians’ net wealth in 2009 was 8.3 times gross household disposable income, more than the 8 times for the U.K., 7.5 times for France, 7 times in Japan, 5.5 times in Canada and 4.9 times in the U.S. Figures for Germany weren’t given.

Italy, the euro region’s second most-indebted country after Greece, is struggling to tame borrowing costs that have surged to record highs amid Europe’s sovereign crisis. Prime Minister Mario Monti’s Cabinet approved a sweeping budget plan on Dec. 4 aimed at raising revenue and spurring economic growth in a bid to persuade investors Italy can avoid following Greece, Ireland and Portugal in seeking a bailout.

Five percent of financial assets held by Italian families were directly invested in Italian government debt at the end of 2010, down from 5.8 percent the previous year, the report showed. Household debt in Italy amounted to about 82 percent of disposable income in 2009, compared with about 100 percent in France and Germany, 130 percent in the U.S. and Japan and 170 percent in the U.K., the Bank of Italy said.

--With assistance from Giovanni Salzano in Rome. Editors: Jeffrey Donovan, Andrew Davis

To contact the reporters on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net.


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