dubrovnik, croatia.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Mike McHolm, used under CC BY-ND

The seventh Global Wealth Report ranks Croatia 33rd among over 50 countries with EUR 8,060 in net financial assets per capita, while Switzerland and the US remain at the top with EUR 170,590 and EUR 160,950 respectively, Allianz said on Thursday.

The report, which analyses assets and household debts, says the "years of plenty" are over, with global financial assets increasing by 4.9% in 2015, just above the economic growth rate. Over the past three years, financial assets increased at twice that speed, at the average rate of 9%.

The hardest hit by the slower increase were Europe, the US and Japan.

In Croatia, the growth of financial assets in 2015 slowed down to 1.1% from 7.2% in 2014. Assets in pension funds and insurance companies increased by nearly 10% but securities decreased by 12.6%.

With less than a 16% share in the portfolio, debt securities, stocks and investment funds still do not play a big role in Croatia's household savings. Over half of household financial assets are made up of sight deposits, term deposits, and saving deposits which increased only 2.2% in 2015.

After two-digit growth rates in the years before the financial crisis, private liabilities in Croatia fell for the fourth straight year, by 1.7%. Despite the fall, liabilities of EUR 4,120 per inhabitant are higher than the East European EU member states' average (EUR 3,630). With a 40% debt to GDP ratio, Croatia is second in the region after Estonia (45%). 

In the latest Global Wealth Report rankings, Croatia comes 33rd, the same as the year before, while falling four places in comparison to 2000. According to the gross financial assets per capita, Croatia is 34th.

In 2015, the liabilities of households globally grew 4.5% to EUR 38.6 trillion at the end of the year, a quarter higher than the value prior to the outbreak of the major financial crisis.

The report says that global levels of poverty markedly decreased in recent decades, with 69% of the population belonging to the lower wealth class (80% in 2000), that nearly 600 million people moved up to the middle class (net assets from 7,000 to 42,000 euros), and that the middle wealth class doubled to a billion people. The share of the middle class has grown from 10% to nearly 20% of the population and the global middle class is becoming richer. The global upper class is also growing - 540 million people in 2015, up 25% from 2000.

The report shows that in a third of the countries analysed, the middle class is shrinking, notably in countries hit by the euro crisis (Italy, Ireland and Greece) and traditionally industrialised countries (the US, Japan and the UK).

The report says that at first glance, Croatia appears to belong to that category, primarily because the number of people who could have been considered middle class decreased. But the cause is the increasing number of people ranked as the national upper wealth class, which Allianz says actually indicates the progress of the middle class and not its erosion.

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