Finance in brief
The three richest people in the US – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett – own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population, or 160 million people. Analysis of the wealth of America’s richest people found that the three were sitting on a combined $248.5bn fortune. The Institute for Policy Studies said the growing gap between rich and poor had created a “moral crisis”. In a report, the Billionaire Bonanza, the thinktank said Donald Trump’s tax change proposals would “exacerbate existing wealth disparities”.
The UK is finalising arrangements for a $2bn loan guarantee to Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, but the government has denied the support is linked to the state-owned firm’s potential listing on the London Stock Exchange. The UK’s credit export agency, the UKEF, which helps British companies win contracts with foreign companies, is backing the loan. The oil-rich kingdom is planning to privatise 5% of state-owned Saudi Aramco in 2019, to raise funds to help diversify its economy. The UK is hoping Aramco will list on the London Stock Exchange.
Shoppers have spent more than $25bn during China’s annual Singles Day, smashing previous records for the world’s largest retail event. Singles Day, promoted annually by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and held on 11 November, was supposedly started by bachelor university students in the 1990s who bought themselves presents as a kind of anti-Valentine’s day. The date 11/11 was chosen for its collection of lonely ones. Companies offer deep discounts for a range of products sold during the 24-hour period.