Today, the Bank of Italy and Istat have released their joint annual publication on financial and non-financial wealth of Italy's institutional sectors. The publication provides a comprehensive overview of the assets and of how they have changed over time in Italy, as well as a comparison with other advanced economies.
At the end of 2021, the net wealth of Italian households stood at €10,422 billion, increasing by 3 per cent at nominal values compared with the previous year. The ratio of net wealth to gross disposable income decreased slightly from 8.71 to 8.66. Although the value of buildings saw a moderate increase, breaking a downward trend underway since 2012, its share of gross wealth decreased by more than 1 percentage point in 2021, from 46.6 to 45.4 per cent.
Growth in financial assets exceeded that in real assets (+6.6 per cent), mainly owning to shares and mutual fund shares. Deposits consistently increased as well, although weaker than in 2020. Financial liabilities grew by 3.7 per cent, mainly driven by loans. Compared with other advanced economies, in 2021 the net wealth of Italian households recorded a lower growth rate, and one of the lowest in per capita terms.
At the end of 2021, the net wealth of Italian non-financial firms amounted to €880 billion. Real assets accounted for 60 per cent of gross wealth: among these, the increase in machinery and equipment and in other structures offset the decrease in residential and non-residential buildings. On the financial side, deposits increased substantially, followed by other accounts receivable, shares and other equity, and derivatives, bringing the ratio of financial assets to gross wealth at its highest level since 2005. The rise in liabilities was sharper than that in assets, largely due to the higher values of shares and other equity. The level of indebtedness of Italian firms remained low by international standards, although it increased in 2021, unlike in the other major countries.
In 2021, financial corporations' net wealth was €686 billion. Gross wealth grew by 5.4 per cent, mostly benefiting the trend in deposits, which reached their highest share since 2005 (22 per cent). On the contrary, loans shrank from 28 to 27 per cent.
General government net wealth was negative by €1,467 billion at the end of 2021 (more than 82 per cent of GDP). Total assets, both real and financial, grew by 3.6 per cent driven by non-residential buildings and other structures, which account for more than a third of gross wealth. At the international level, the ratio of net wealth to GDP in Italy grew broadly in line with the other countries.