Calgary Herald

Wealthiest take $9B hit in Europe’s debt crisis

- DEVON PENDLETON

The 20 richest people on Earth lost a combined $9.1 billion US this week as renewed concerns that Europe’s debt crisis might deepen drove the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its biggest weekly loss of the year.

Mexican Carlos Slim’s fortune declined by $1.5 billion during the week as shares of his telecom operator, America Movil SAB, fell 2.2 per cent through Thursday. The 72-yearold remains the wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $69.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionair­es Index.

“This is a little bit of a reality check,” said Leo Grohowski, chief investment officer for New York-based BNY Mellon Wealth Management. “The super wealthy are among the most cautious investors in the world. Skepticism is still high, and they are feeling very, very nervous.” Global markets retreated this week as demand fell at a Spanish bond auction and minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting indicated it isn’t ready to provide more monetary stimulus.

Li Ka-shing, Asia’s second-richest person, lost $144 million. Shares of his port operator, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., dropped 1.1 per cent in Hong Kong, leading the Hang Seng Index to its fifth drop in six days. Li, 83, ranks 15th with $23.8 billion.

Brazilian Eike Batista’s net worth fell $574.4 million as shares of OGX Petroleo & Gas Participac­oes SA dropped three per cent. Batista, whose fortune rose $7.2 billion last week after the 55-year-old sold a 5.6-per-cent stake in his commoditie­s empire, ranks 10th on the index. His net worth of $33.5 billion is up 49 per cent year-to-date.

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, 56, is second on the index with a net worth of $63.2 billion, down $558.1 million for the four-day week shortened by Good Friday. Warren Buffett, 81, is third with $45.2 billion. The world’s three richest people gained a combined $17.2 billion year-to-date.

Skepticism is still high, and they are feeling very, very nervous

LEO GROHOWSKI

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