It must be rough being rich in Asia.
Prices on luxury items such as golf club memberships, ladies shoes, jewelry and top-shelf wine are rising there faster than the cost of goods and services consumed by lowly plebeians.
Out of a basket of 20 goods and services tracked by private Swiss banker Julius Baer Group Ltd. in its annual Asia Wealth Report, which was released Tuesday, only two items have become slightly less expensive: ladies handbags and the cost of boarding school.
Six of the 18 remaining items saw double-digit price increases.
The average price in Asia for a 13-year-old bottle of Lafite Rothschild red wine increased from nearly $3,600 to more than $4,000 from last year, while a high-end tailored men’s suit has increased by nearly $300 to $2,949. A box of Cuban Cohiba Siglo VI cigars has risen about 13 percent to nearly $1,200, while a night at the Four Seasons in Asia has risen nearly 17 percent to $578 a night.
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The survey is aimed at offering data on Asia’s booming market for luxury goods, where the number and rate of growth of high-net worth individuals has caught the attention of Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF), LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (EPA:MC), Bentley Motors Inc. and other high-end makers and providers of luxury goods and services.
The survey’s findings are based on the cost of luxury in four major Asian cities: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Mumbai. Overall, Julius Baer says that luxury inflation increased 8 percent from last year compared to the overall average Asian inflationary growth rate of 5.3 percent.
High-net-worth individuals are defined by the survey as people who have at least $1 million in assets they have the freedom to invest. China is estimated to have 1.4 million of these individuals out of a total population of 1.35 billion.
What was the city that saw the highest overall rise in the cost of luxury consumption?
Mumbai, where the cost of luxury popped a whopping 16.7 percent, led by a 13 percent rise in the cost of luxury private real estate.
Last year for the first time the number of rich people in the Asia-Pacific region surpassed the number of rich people in North America, with more than half in Japan and 17 percent in China, according to a report at the time by RBC Wealth Management.