THE recession has put an end to the millionaire status of 32'000 people in Spain, reported finance house Merrill Lynch yesterday, 21 percent of the country's total.

For the purposes of the study, a millionaire is defined as someone who is worth more than a million dollars, excluding his or her principal residence and material possessions.

On a global scale, the fortunes of those around the world have been eaten away by the recession with 14.9 percent less people qualifying as millionaires than a year ago.

According to the Merrill Lynch research into international wealth, 1.5 million people have ceased to be the millionaires over the past twelve months leaving 8.6 million still in the category in 2008. In Spain, 127'100 people remain millionaires.

Although the decline in wealth is “the biggest downturn since the 1950s” and despite 5.6 billion euros having disappeared in the space of a year (19.5 percent), Merrill Lynch claimed in its findings that some of the richest people in the world still have 23.4 billion euros, a sum which is bigger than the annual budget of a small country.

SUPER RICH The same situation holds true for the so-called super rich who lay claim to personal fortunes of more than 30 billion dollars. This group has lost 23.9 percent of its wealth and 24.6 percent of its members, leaving a depleted force of 78'000.

Merrill Lynch meanwhile still has Spain on its list of twelve countries which have the most millionaires, a group headed by the United States.
Although millionaires and the super rich may still retain the trappings of their wealth, losses will have been incurred in investments on international stock markets and other financial risk dealings.