Number of billionaires worldwide drops for the first time in 10 years

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In 2018 the world lost 57 billionaires compared to the previous year. The richest saw their fortunes reduced by $388 billion.

For the first time since the financial crisis of 2008, the wealth of billionaires has fallen. In 2018 there were 57 billionaires less than the previous year.

The number of people with a nine-figure fortune dropped from 2,158 in 2017 to 2,101 in 2018, according to a report by Swiss bank UBS. The billionaire’s collective fortune fell 4.3%, from $8.9 trillion to $8.5 trillion, according to the bank.

“Billionaire wealth dipped in 2018 for the first time since 2008 because of geopolitics,” said Josef Stadler, UBS’s head of ultra-high net worth clients. “The billionaire boom of the past five years has now undergone a natural correction. The stronger dollar, combined with greater uncertainty in equity markets amidst a tough geopolitical environment, has created the conditions for this dip.”

“There was a dip in wealth in 2018. But in our view this should be set within the context of the broader trend of strong growth,” he added. “Billionaire wealth dropped 4.3% globally, after five years when it grew by 34.5%. As the centre of economic activity shifts towards Asia, the region’s entrepreneurs are playing a strong role. There will be many more winners and losers in the years to come.”

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According to the report, the fall in wealth was especially pronounced in China and India. Chinese billionaires suffered the biggest losses, with their collective wealth falling by 12.8% due to stock market depreciation, weak local currency and slowing growth in the world’s second largest economy. The trade war with the US was also blamed.

In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, combined wealth declined by 6.8 percent to $2.4 trillion.

However, the North American continent was the only region that did not follow this world trend. In the US, fortunes have grown, mainly due to the success of US technology entrepreneurs.

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