PARIS: Global dividend payments hit a record $1.66 trillion in 2023 according to a report by asset manager Janus Henderson, with banks the key driver in payouts to shareholders. Dividend payments rose by 5.6 percent in 2023 compared to the preceding year, and were 15 percent higher than in 2019, the year before the Covid pandemic sent the world economy into a tailspin.

The rise in profits paid out to shareholders was broad based, with 86 percent of companies holding steady or raising dividends, and 22 countries setting records including the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Mexico and Indonesia.

The growth in dividend payouts was driven by the banking sector, which also hit a record, but their positive impact was almost entirely offset by cuts from the mining sector, which saw its profits crimped by lower commodity prices.

“Pessimism over the global economy proved ill-founded in 2023 and although the outlook is uncertain, dividends are well supported,” said Ben Lofthouse, head of global equity income at Janus Henderson. The firm said it expects 2024 to show similar underlying growth to 2023, when it rose by 5.0 percent.

The underlying growth measure excludes exceptional dividend payments and swings in exchange rates. Janus Henderson expects a lower headline increase of 3.9 percent in 2024 due to a likely fall in one-off special dividends.

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