Australian Statistician ‘Finds’ $338 Billion In Missing Wealth

You know how excited you get when you find $20 you forgot about that was stuffed away in an old jacket? That is sort of what happened this week in Australia, except that $20 was $338 billion and it was “found” after a government statistician did some serious digging into previously unrecognized share assets.

The finding was announced on Thursday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which examined household assets. The “find” includes a massive upward revision to estimates for equity holdings. The report now places total financial assets at $3.1 trillion for the end of March, up from the previously estimated $2.77 trillion.

Based on the newly revised figure, Australian’s are now each worth $14,380 more than they were previously, although no one will be feeling any richer because of a statistics revision.

According to the statistician:

“This issue incorporates new estimates for households holding of unlisted shares and other equity in other private non financial corporations.”

Craig James, chief economist at CommSec, tells Reuters:

“The Bureau of Statistics has effectively ‘found’ A$325 billion in household wealth.”

The study did find some other notes of interest. For example, since 2007, the amount of money held in bank deposits rose to $260 billion, a 60 percent increase. Also businesses are now holding 15 percent of funds in cash and deposits, the highest proportional level on record.

What the statistic really means is that the amount of debt held by Australian families does not look as strained on paper versus the increased wealth in assets they also carry.