The average Swiss sits on a fortune amounting to 450,000 francs ($497,000), making the country the wealthiest in the world, according to a new report published on Thursday.

"/> The average Swiss sits on a fortune amounting to 450,000 francs ($497,000), making the country the wealthiest in the world, according to a new report published on Thursday.

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ECONOMY

Swiss pass Norway to become world’s richest

The average Swiss sits on a fortune amounting to 450,000 francs ($497,000), making the country the wealthiest in the world, according to a new report published on Thursday.

Figures show Switzerland overtaking Norway as the richest nation in the world in terms of average wealth per adult. Australia and Singapore follow in third and fourth places, respectively.

When looking at figures in US dollars, average household wealth doubled in the last decade to a great extent due to the strength of the franc, the report states.

The increase was particularly strong in 2010, when Switzerland became the only country in the world where the average wealth per adult largely surpassed the $500,000 barrier.

However, in franc terms, Switzerland suffered a decline between 2001 and 2002, only to show a slight upward trend in following years.

In the category “very large fortunes” (more than $50 million), Switzerland ranks number three in the world with 3,820 individuals, after the United States with 35,400, and China with 5,400. In total, the report says that the super-rich category amounts for a total of 84,700 people in the world.

Inequalities in wealth distribution have diminished in Switzerland over the last century. As a consequence, a big portion of the population is on the upper levels of the wealth pyramid. 1.8 percent of the richest people in the world are Swiss, even though the country’s number of inhabitants does not account for more than 0.1 of the world’s population.

Overall, compared to last year, the world’s wealth increased by 18.4 percent to $231 billion, thanks to the growth in South Africa, India, Australia, Chile and Singapore.

The experts at Credit Suisse expect an increase of 50 percent of global wealth in 2016. China should become the second richest country in the world at that time, overtaking Japan. The United States is likely to retain first position with $82 billion.

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MONEY

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.

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