Billionaire numbers soar 8.5%; wealth hits $9.4trln

The North America and Asia regions saw the strongest growth in billionaire numbers

U.S. currency is seen in this picture illustration taken March 6, 2020.

U.S. currency is seen in this picture illustration taken March 6, 2020.

REUTERS/Mike Segar/Illustration
The number of billionaires globally rose strongly by 8.5% to 2,825 individuals in 2019, while their combined wealth was boosted by 10.3% to a total of $9.4 trillion — more than reversing the previous year’s decline, says a report.
The North America and Asia regions saw the strongest growth in billionaire numbers and collective net worth, says latest edition of the Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2020.
Both regions enjoyed double-digit growth on both measures. There were below-average, but still healthy, gains in billionaire wealth in Europe, the Pacific and Africa.
In contrast, wealth creation in the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean was subdued, with declines in the overall billionaire population.
China recorded the strongest growth in billionaire population and combined wealth, according to the report.
The US also showed robust growth and remains by far the dominant billionaire country, accounting for 28% of the global billionaire population.
The top 15 countries are home to more than three-quarters of the world’s billionaires — all but one (the UAE) recorded an increase in their billionaire population and cumulative wealth in 2019.
Meanwhile, billionaires’ net worth has been affected significantly by the fallout from the Covid-19, says the report.
Not all billionaires are created equal. The number of billionaires in technology, insurance, business services and healthcare grew by between 6% and 9% during the first five months of 2020 compared with 2019. Billionaires in shipping, apparel (including luxury) and aerospace experienced the worst performances during the period.
Despite a loss of momentum in the global economy and a still turbulent geopolitical environment, financial markets saw a bullish performance on the whole.
More than 10% of billionaires made a pledge in the fight against Covid-19 during January to May 2020.
Other giving was in the form of non-monetary commitments or was made anonymously. Philanthropy is the favourite passion of many billionaires, followed by sports, aviation and politics. The wealthy, and the wealthiest in particular, have been expected to step up during this time of crisis.
Billionaires pledging to the Covid-19 cause differ from billionaire major philanthropists. The former tend to be younger, wealthier and more likely to have created their own wealth — largely a reflection of a significantly greater representation of those with technology as their primary industry. Major philanthropists tend to be older and are more likely to be attached to the banking and finance sector. – TradeArabia News Service

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