The wealthiest 500 people on Earth lost 2.1 per cent of their collective net worth on Monday as US stocks plunged in their biggest drop this year.
Twenty-one members of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lost $1 billion (Dh3.67bn) or more as investors reacted to stepped-up tensions between the US and China. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos declined the most, shedding $3.4bn as shares of the online retailer tumbled. But he’s still the richest person on the planet with $110 billion.
Other big losers include the Frenchman Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, who lost $3.2bn of his fortune and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg whose fortune dwindled to $2.8bn. Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani shed $2.4bn and Microsoft's Bill Gates Dh2bn.
The losses are an abrupt reversal for the world’s richest, who up until today had experienced steady gains.
Other forces have also eroded fortunes in recent weeks. Hong Kong’s elite are feeling the pain from nine weeks of protests that have jammed the financial hub’s streets, weighed on growth and battered local stock prices. The net worth of the 10 richest tycoons who derive their fortunes from Hong Kong-listed companies has tumbled $19bn since July 23.
Even after Monday’s losses, the 500 individuals on the index control almost $5.4tn, an 11 per cent increase from January 1.