Bil­lion­aires’ wealth falls to $8.5trn

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

ZURICH: The world’s rich­est peo­ple be­came a lit­tle less well off last year, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by UBS and PWC, as geopo­lit­i­cal tur­moil and volatile eq­uity mar­kets re­duced the wealth of bil­lion­aires for the first time since 2015.

Bil­lion­aires’ wealth fell by $388 bil­lion glob­ally to $8.539 tril­lion, the UBS/PWC Bil­lion­aires Re­port found, with a par­tic­u­larly sharp de­cline in Greater China — the sec­ond­biggest home for bil­lion­aires af­ter the United States — and the Asia-pa­cific re­gion more broadly.

Pri­vate banks in­clud­ing the world’s largest wealth man­ager UBS have felt the ef­fects of Uschina trade ten­sions and global po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tain­ties, as clients last year shied away from trad­ing and tak­ing on debt in favour of hoard­ing more cash.

The net worth of China’s rich­est dropped 12.8 per cent in dol­lar terms on the back of tum­bling stock mar­kets and a weaker lo­cal cur­rency and as growth in the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy slowed to its low­est level in nearly three decades in 2018, the re­port found, knock­ing dozens off the bil­lion­aires list.

De­spite the drop, China con­tin­ues to pro­duce a new bil­lion­aire ev­ery 2-2.5 days, UBS’S head of ul­tra-high net worth clients, Josef Stadler, said in the re­port re­leased on Fri­day.

World­wide, the num­ber of bil­lion­aires fell every­where ex­cept in the Amer­i­cas, where tech en­trepreneur­s con­tin­ued to buoy the ranks of the United States’ wealth­i­est.

“This re­port shows the re­silience of the US econ­omy,” where there were 749 bil­lion­aires at the end of 2018, said John Matthews, head of pri­vate wealth man­age­ment and ul­tra­high net worth busi­ness for UBS in the United States.

While a stock mar­ket re­cov­ery from a steep drop in late 2018 has helped wealth man­agers in­crease their as­sets, the world’s rich­est fam­i­lies re­main con­cerned about global af­fairs from trade ten­sions and Brexit to pop­ulism and cli­mate change and are con­tin­u­ing to keep more of their money in cash.

SEE P3

— Reuters

The world’s bil­lion­aires be­came poorer to the tune of $388 bil­lion in 2018 as wob­bling stock mar­kets and a down­turn in the Chi­nese econ­omy hurt their wealth.

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