Elon Musk’s fortune fell by nearly $62 billion. Jeff Bezos is about $63 billion short. Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has more than halved. In total, the 500 richest people in the world lost US$1.4 trillion in the first half of 2022, marking the biggest semi-annual drop for the global billionaire class.
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This is a sharp turn from the previous two years, when the fortunes of billionaires soared on the back of unprecedented stimulus measures put in place by governments and central banks to deal with the pandemic, driving up the value of everything. Now that policymakers raise interest rates to combat high inflation, Some of the most expensive stocks, and the billionaires who own them, are rapidly losing ground.
Tesla Inc. had its worst quarter ever in the three months through June, while Amazon.com Inc. suffered its biggest drop since the dotcom bubble burst. Although the losses accrue to the world’s richest people, they represent only modest progress toward reducing wealth inequality.
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Muskco-founder of Tesla, still has the largest fortune on the planet, with US $ 208,500 million, while Bezosthe owner of Amazon, ranks second with a net worth of $129.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bernard Arnault, the richest person in France, is third with $128.7 billion, followed by Bill Gates with US$114.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg index. They are the only four people whose fortunes exceed $100 billion. At the beginning of the year, 10 people around the world exceeded that number, including Zuckerberg, which now ranks 17th on the list with $60 billion.
Still, the billionaire class has amassed so much wealth in recent years that not only can the vast majority endure the worst first half since 1970 for the S&P 500 index, but probably are looking for bargains, said Thorne Perkin, president of Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management. “Oftentimes his mindset is a little bit more contrary,” Perkin said. “A lot of our customers look for opportunities when there’s trouble on the streets.”
That was what happened in the first half of the year in some of the most distressed corners of global financial markets. Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s richest man with a fortune of US$35.2 billion, acquired the entire position of Societe Generale SA in Rosbank PJSC earlier this year, amid the fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin.
He also bought Russian tycoon Oleg Tinkov’s stake in a digital bank for a fraction of what it was worth. Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, bought a 7.6% stake in Robinhood Markets Inc. in early May, after the brokerage app’s share price fell 77% since its long-awaited initial public offering last July. The 30-year-old billionaire has also been a lender of last resort for some troubled crypto companies.
The most prominent purchase of all was that of Musk, who struck a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc. He offered to pay US$54.20 per share; shares of the social media company closed Thursday at $37.39. The world’s richest man said last month in an interview with Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait that there are “some unresolved issues” before the transaction can be completed. “There is a limit to what I can say publicly,” he noted. “It’s a somewhat delicate matter.”