Corporate dividend payments reached a new high in 2017 thanks to the robust global economic recovery and rising business confidence.
The Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index rose to a record 171.2 in 2017 as payments soared 7.7% to an all-time high of $1.252tn, according to data compiled by the asset manager.
Every region of the world and almost all industry groups experienced growth in dividends, with records struck in 11 of the 41 countries covered in the survey - among them, Japan, the US, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
Key global highlights
- Global dividends soared 7.7% in 2017 to a record $1.252tn
- Underlying growth was 6.8%, and every region of the world saw an increase
- A weaker dollar means Janus Henderson expects headline growth of 7.7%, bringing total global dividends to $1.348 trillion in 2018
Breaking the numbers down
The Asia Pacific region - not including Japan - saw the strongest rate of dividend growth in 2017 with a rise of 18.8% to $139.9bn. Japan's rate of growth was 8.1%, taking total dividends to $70bn.
Emerging markets saw the second-strongest rate of growth, up 16.5% to $102.4bn.
North America drove dividend payments, however, with a total of $475.6bn paid back to shareholders in 2017 - up 6.9% on the previous year.
Europe and the UK saw the lowest levels of growth. Europe - not including the UK - rose 1.9% to $227.4bn, while UK payments increased 3% to $95.7bn, held back by a weak pound.
Janus Henderson forecast underlying growth of 6.1% for 2018. It added that should the dollar maintain its weak trend in 2018, headline growth would push up to 7.7% yielding a new record total of $1.348tn.
Ben Lofthouse, director of global equity income at Janus Henderson (above), said: "While equity markets have been volatile recently, dividend payments are reflective of corporate health and economic conditions, so we expect them to be more stable.
"2017 was a great year for income investors with dividend growth broadly spread across countries and industries.
"The record payout last year was almost three-quarters higher than in 2009, and there is more to come. The next few months are set fair, and we expect global dividends to break new records in 2018.”
Picture courtesy of Janus Henderson