Qatar has the highest density of millionaires in the world, with 14.3 per cent of the oil-rich Gulf nation's population holding private wealth of at least USD 1 million, according to a report.
The figure shows 143 out of every 1,000 households in Qatar holding private wealth of at least USD 1 million, much higher than the global average.
Kuwait ranks third with 11.5 per cent, while Bahrain (4.9 per cent) and the UAE (4.0 per cent) rank seventh and ninth, respectively, the Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) 13th annual global wealth management report says.
Wealth in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) saw near double-digit growth at 9.1 per cent in 2012, the study says.
The report asserts that private wealth in MEA will grow to an estimated USD 6.5 trillion by the end of 2017, with a projected CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth rate) of 6.2 per cent. This increase will largely be driven by new wealth creation linked to strong GDP expansion in oil-rich countries.
"The growth of private wealth in the region has been largely driven by a buoyant GCC equity market and an improvement in the global equity markets overall.
Additionally, the recovery of the local real estate markets has helped to free up additional liquidity for financial investments.
Wealth held in equities saw strong growth in 2012, although individual markets in the GCC region posted sharply different results," said Markus Massi, Partner and Managing Director at BCG Middle East.
The Middle East also ranks highly by ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) households, defined as households with more than USD 100 million in private wealth.
Qatar ranks fourth in the world, with 8 out of 100,000 households falling into this category. Kuwait ranks seventh and UAE comes in fifteenth with 7 and 3 households per 100,000 in this segment, respectively.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) Index enjoyed growth of 19.9 per cent and the Abu Dhabi Exchange (ADX) improved by 9.5 per cent, while other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) exchanges have seen moderate growth (6 per cent for Tadawul) or as low as 2 per cent in the case of the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE).
On a regional level, the report shows that private financial wealth in the Middle East and Africa grew to USD 4.8 trillion in 2012, an increase of 9.1 per cent from USD 4.4 trillion in 2011.
Wealth held in equities in the MEA region grew by 18.3 per cent in