Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is still the richest person in the world, thanks to surge in his wealth in four months since COVID-19 pandemic, according to a latest report by Hurun Research. With a net worth of $160 billion, Bezos, 56, retained the top spot as his wealth zoomed from $20 billion in four months since COVID-19 pandemic. He added $7 million every hour for the past four months, as per the special report titled "Wealth Impact 4 months after COVID-19 Outbreak". The report measured wealth changes in the four months ending May 31, 2020.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industrial Limited (RIL), was the only Asian to feature in the Global Top 10 list. Ambani, 63, improved his position by one slot to become 8th richest person in the world as his "wealth bounce back $18 billion in last two months, after losing $19 billion in first two months after outbreak". The net worth of Mukesh Ambani fell by 1 per cent to $66 billion, despite stellar performance by his flagship company RIL whose share price hit record high in recent past.
Ambani saw a "V-shaped recovery" in his wealth, wherein the net worth fall in the first two months and recouped all the losses in the next two months, the report said.
The RIL share has risen 108 per cent from its 52-week low of Rs 867.82 touched on March 23 to Rs 1,804.10 on June 22 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The market capitalisation of Reliance Industries crossed $150 billion on Monday.
In a similar trend, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of the social media giant Facebook, saw his wealth drop by $13 billion in first two months of outbreak, but then recovered the same amount to rise to the 4th spot in the list of world richest persons.
Among other, Colin Huang Zheng, of Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, was the fastest riser of the Hurun Global Rich List Top 100 of the past four months, seeing his wealth almost double to $35 billion.
Another big winner was Eric Yuan Zheng, 50, of popular video conferencing app Zoom, who saw his wealth triple from $4.5 billion in January to $13 billion, propelling him up from 555th in the world four months ago to knocking on the door of the world's Top 100 today.
The biggest losers in the last four months were French billionaire business magnate Bernard Arnault and Warren Buffett, each down $18 billion, followed by Carlos Slim Helu, down $17 billion, and Amancio Ortega of Inditex, down $14 billion.
"Bernard Arnault and Warren Buffett were the biggest losers, down $ 18 billion each over the past four months. For Arnault it could have been a lot worse, since he was down $ 30 billion in the first two months after the outbreak, but managed to claw back $ 12 billion in the following two months," said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher.
In the four months since the outbreak, 60 per cent of the entrepreneurs saw their wealth rise or stay the same, whilst 40 per cent were down. "Whilst the first two months of the outbreak saw a massive wealth wipeout of the Hurun Global Top 100, the second two months saw a V-shaped recovery for two-thirds of the Hurun Global Top 100, reminding us that it is dangerous to bet against the world's best wealth creators," said Hoogewerf.
Stock markets across the world dropped significantly in the first two months after the coronavoirus outbreak but clawed back some of the losses in the second two months. India, the UK and France were down around 20 per cent, with the NYSE, Japan, HK and Germany down around 10 per cent. Mainland China's stock exchanges were down slightly at 4 per cent, whilst the only major stock market to see a gain was NASDAQ, up 4 per cent.
Among currencies, the British pound and Indian rupee were down 5.6 per cent and 5.3 per cent, respectively, against the dollar, whilst the Chinese yuan and Euro were up 2 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.
In terms of countries, while China added 3 individuals to the world's top 100 billionaires, the US, Russia and Italy each added one in the four months to May 31, 2020. Currently, the US has 39 in the Top 100, compared to 26 from China. "China has narrowed the gap with the USA at the top of the Hurun Global Rich List, from 13 down to 11," the report said.