Editor's comment: Middle Classes on the march

According to the experts at Goldman Sachs we are in the middle of a 'global middle-class explosion'

A recent Goldman report shows an estimated 70 million people a year are joining the 'middle class' ranks. Middle class is defined as someone with an income of $30,000.

And the next 20 years will see a huge expansion.

The main area of growth is in Asia. This is witnessed by the huge impact the Chinese have had on the collectibles markets, particularly fine wines, rare stamps and art.

Free Report: China - The new force in collectibles

But even stripping out the Chinese and Indian growth (50m) the middle class growth in the rest of the world is huge, some 20 million a year.

By 2030 Goldman predict some two-billion extra people will be in the middle-class bracket.

The economic story is also a demographic one, with a rapidly ageing population, particularly in the West, resulting in a dwindling Governmental tax intake.

Elderly citizens are having to sell equity portfolios to pay for retirement costs, and this could have a huge detrimental effect on world-wide stock markets in the years to come.

This is cited as one of the reasons the high-end collectibles markets are booming as investors seek tangible assets with a low correlation with traditional financial investments such as stocks and shares.

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