Khamis, 26 September 2013

The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Survey: Asia to have most millionaires


Hong Kong (AFP) - Asia will have the world's largest number of millionaires as early as next year despite the expected tapering of the US Federal Reserve's stimulus programme, according to a report published Wednesday.

With strong growth and high saving rates, the wealth of the region's millionaires will grow by an annual average 9.8 percent and reach nearly $16 trillion in 2015, according to the wealth management unit of Royal Bank of Canada.

Despite concerns of devaluing asset prices due to capital outflows triggered by Fed tapering, Asia is set to lead the world in the number of millionaires and their total wealth, the bank said in a report prepared with consulting firm Capgemini.

"The region's high net worth population and wealth has increased by 31 percent and 27 percent respectively since 2007, far outpacing growth in the rest of the world of 14 percent and nine percent," George Lewis, group head of RBC Wealth Management, said in a statement.

The number of millionaires in Asia surged by 9.4 percent year-on-year to 3.68 million in 2012, still trailing North America's 3.73 million.

Millionaires in the report are defined as individuals with investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding residence, collectibles and others.

Asia's continual population growth, and economic growth expected to continue outperforming the rest of the world, would help it take the lead as early as next year, according to Eric Lascelles, chief economist of RBC Global Asset Management.

He said the Fed's tapering plan could create "hiccups" but would not affect the trajectory of growth in the region.

The bank said Japan saw the slowest growth in its millionaire population last year among Asian economies, with only a 4.4 percent increase in 2012 compared to the previous year.

Hong Kong topped its Asian peers in the growth of both millionaire numbers and their investable assets in 2012. The number of millionaires rose by 35.7 percent year-on-year while their wealth grew by 37.2 percent.

The firm said the big jump was largely caused by an influx of capital from mainland China as well as rising asset prices. - AFP

Australia says Indonesia talks 'productive'


SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has declared her meetings with her Indonesian counterpart on the fraught issue of turning back asylum-seeker boats to the sprawling archipelago "very productive".

Speaking from New York, Bishop said she had spoken to Indonesia's top diplomat Marty Natalegawa about Australia's military-led operation to shut down people-smugglers by forcing their boats to turn around when safe to do so.

"I had a very productive and positive meeting with Foreign Minister Natalegawa," Bishop told reporters, according to a transcript from her office.

"I am not going into the operational details of our policy, but I had a very broad-ranging discussion with Minister Natalegawa and I am confident that we will be able to implement our policies."

Australia's new conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott who swept to power in national polls earlier this month, hopes to deter asylum-seekers from taking people-smuggling boats with the threat of potential towbacks.

Bishop said she told Natalegawa that Australia would be making changes to its laws "so that we take away the product that the people smugglers are currently selling -- and that is permanent residency in Australia".

"I also spoke of our support for efforts that not only Indonesia but other nations up the pipeline are making in terms of dismantling the people-smuggling trade," she said.

Asked whether Natalegawa had indicated that he was not happy with Australia's plan, Bishop said: "There can be some misunderstanding as to what our policy is, and it is certainly not to, in any way, show disrespect for Indonesian sovereignty."

"We had a very productive discussion. We talked about the issue generally, specifically, but I am not going into the details of what essentially are operational issues. But we had a very cordial meeting, I can assure you."

Bishop blamed the previous Labor government of leaving "a complete mess in border protection" which encouraged people smuggling, despite the fact that boat arrivals slowed sharply ahead of the elections due to their harsh permanent resettlement deal for refugees with Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Bishop said that she looked forward to meeting with Natalegawa again during Abbott's upcoming visit to Jakarta.


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