Yesterday saw the release of Forbes magazine’s latest billionaires list. According to the results, the number of billionaires in 2011 has reached a record 1,210 – up 20 per cent from last year’s 1,011. With 25 per cent of new entrants from China, and 15 per cent from Russia, the 2011 list underscores rapid economic development in the the so-called "BRICs" (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

As we have mentioned previously on the blog, there appears to be a striking correlation between the number of billionaires and fine wine prices. This can be seen from the chart below, which tracks Forbes data against the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index. (We have converted the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index to dollars to remove the effects of currency movements.)

Billionaires list

Why the connection? The number of billionaires and demand for blue-chip wines are, of course, strongly linked to global wealth creation. This argument is strengthened by the findings of a recent IMF report, which suggests a close relationship between growth in emerging market economies – such as China – and fine wine prices.