U.S. Tops List of Built Asset Wealth in New Global Study - For Now

U.S. Tops List of Built Asset Wealth in New Global Study - For Now

  • ARCADIS/EC Harris publishes first Global Built AssetWealth Index, an alternative indicator of economic health and prospects for growth.

  • U.S. leads world in built asset wealth.

  • With a larger pace of investment, China will surpass the U.S. by 2014.

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- ARCADIS (EURONEXT: ARCAD), the leading pure play global engineering and consultancy firm, and its subsidiary EC Harris, the global built asset consultancy, unveiled a landmark global study which provides fresh insight into the current and future prosperity of nations around the world based on analysis of investment in infrastructure and the built environment. Conducted in conjunction with the Centre for Economic and Business Research, the Global Built Asset Wealth Index quantifies the accumulated wealth of 30 countries' built assets - encompassing all the property and infrastructure that contributes to economic productivity - to present an alternative indicator of economic health and growth potential.

The Global Built Asset Wealth Index illustrates how the U.S. compares to the 30 countries that collectively represent 82 percent of global GDP. The Index reveals that total built asset wealth within these countries stands at $193 trillion - the equivalent to almost three times the $68 trillion GDP of the same countries.

The U.S. placed #1in global ranking of national built asset wealth, with China gaining

In 2012, the U.S. was the wealthiest nation in terms of built assets, with total wealth estimated at $39.7 trillion. This is forecast to increase to $47.2 trillion by 2022 - a rise of 19 percent. China is rapidly gaining on the U.S. and could surpass the U.S. in built asset wealth as early as 2014. For instance, by 2022 China is projected to have accumulated $75.7 trillion in built assets.

Investment in built assets will rise in U.S.

Growth in built asset investment in the U.S. is expected to rise steadily over the coming decade, averaging around 6.5%, but a couple of factors will contribute to the world's largest economy being overtaken by China in built asset terms. Even as its economic growth slows, China still surpasses the U.S. in GDP growth. At the same time, with built asset investment at nearly almost half of GDP in 2012, China invests more in its built assets as a share of GDP than the U.S. Sustaining this level of investment will allow China to exceed the built asset accumulation in the U.S. in the coming years.

Subdued growth predicted for the UK and Europe over the next decade

As the balance of economic power continues to shift, Asian and Middle East countries are taking advantage of large cash reserves to invest in their built environment at an unprecedented rate. On the other hand, growth in European countries with an aging built environment and less cash, is expected to be much more subdued at around 2.7%. In some struggling Eurozone economies, investment is forecast to fall short of asset depreciation, leading to a fall in the built asset stock.

The top ten nations on the EC Harris Global Built Asset Wealth Index are:

Country Built

Asset Wealth (U.S.$)

1. USA

$39.7 tn

2. China

$35.4 tn

3. Japan

$18.3 tn

4. India

$11.8 tn

5. Germany

$10.4 tn

6. France

$7.8 tn

7. Italy

$7.4 tn

8. South Korea

$6 tn

9. Russia

$5.9 tn

10. Spain

$5.9 tn

Selected others:

11. UK

$5.5 tn

13. Brazil

$4.8 tn

25. UAE

$1 tn

29. Chile

$0.7 tn

30. Qatar

$0.3 tn

According to Matt Bennion, global director of buildings at ARCADIS, "Indicators like GDP and unemployment, which are traditionally used to define a country's performance, only tell one side of the story. While GDP quantifies national income, this analysis of the total stock of built assets provides an indication of accumulated wealth and the resources which can be drawn upon to fuel future economic growth. Those nations that make the most from investing, developing, operating and reinventing their built environments are the best placed to succeed in the changing world economy."

"Governments all around the world recognize the value the built environment provides, from the positive economic impact of a new house, road or power station to the platform for economic growth that effective transportation links or quality office space provides. As it leads the world in built asset wealth, the U.S. has the opportunity to further leverage its built environment as an economic engine," said Catherine Tobiasinsky, national director, built asset consultancy at ARCADIS U.S.

The full report can be downloaded at www.echarris.com/builtassetindex.

For more information, please contact Debra Havins of ARCADIS at 303-471-3485 or Debra.Havins@arcadis-us.com.


ARCADIS is the leading pure play global engineering and consultancy firm, providing consultancy, design, engineering and management services in infrastructure, water, environment and buildings. We enhance mobility, sustainability and quality of life by creating balance in the built and natural environments. ARCADIS develops, designs, implements, maintains and operates projects for companies and governments. With 22,000 employees and more than $3.3 billion in revenues, the company has an extensive international network supported by strong local market positions. ARCADIS supports UN-HABITAT with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. Visit us at: www.arcadis-us.com.

Notes to editors:


The $193 trillion figure is based on the collective built asset wealth of the following thirty countries: Australia; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China; Egypt; France; Germany; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Italy; Japan; Malaysia; Mexico; Netherlands; Philippines; Poland; Qatar; Russia; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Africa; South Korea; Spain; Thailand; Turkey; UAE; UK; and USA.


For the purposes of this research, 'built assets' are defined as including all the tangible fixed capital investment counted in the national accounting framework used by national statistical offices. This includes: infrastructure investment; residential and non-residential construction; investments in plant and machinery; and improvements in natural assets such as land reclamation.


The built asset stock for each country was estimated using national statistical sources and international best practice depreciation schedules. Forecasting of future stocks were based on Cebr econometric forecasting.

About EC Harris

EC Harris is a leading global built asset consultancy. As an ARCADIS company, we have access to approximately 22,000 professionals worldwide operating in over 70 countries, 300 offices and generating in excess of €2.5 billion in revenue. Working across a wide range of market sectors, we help our clients make the most from the money they spend on their built assets. For more information, visit http://www.echarris.com.

About Centre for Economic and Business Research

Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) is an independent consultancy with a reputation for sound business advice based on thorough and insightful research. Since 1992, Cebr has been at the forefront of business and public interest research. They provide analysis, forecasts and strategic advice to major multinational companies, financial institutions, government departments, agencies and trade bodies. For more information, visit http://www.cebr.com/.

Debra Havins, 303-471-3485

KEYWORDS: United Kingdom United States Europe Asia Pacific North America Colorado


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