Billionaires' wealth falls for first time since 2015

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

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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 second-biggest 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 U.S.-China trade tensions and global political uncertainties, as clients last year shied away from trading and taking on debt in favor of hoarding more cash.

The net worth of China’s richest dropped 12.8% 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 U.S. economy,” where there were 749 billionaires at the end of 2018, said John Matthews, head of private wealth management and ultra-high 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.

“It is likely that billionaire wealth will go up again this year,” said Simon Smiles, UBS’s chief investment officer for ultra-wealthy clients, adding it would likely be a more muted increase than the wider financial market rally might suggest.

(This story officially corrects headline and first paragraph and removes quote to make clear it was first decline in three years, not in a decade)

Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Dilts and Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Mark Potter

Filed in: Top News Tags: 

You might like:

Northern Trust shutting fund; an outlier or sign of future risk? Northern Trust shutting fund; an outlier or sign of future risk?
Retirement services provider Human Interest extends funding round to $50 million Retirement services provider Human Interest extends funding round to $50 million
Northern Trust shutting fund in latest prime money market stress Northern Trust shutting fund in latest prime money market stress
U.S. bank regulator finalizes new community lending rule U.S. bank regulator finalizes new community lending rule
Your small business and COVID-19 questions, answered Your small business and COVID-19 questions, answered
U.S.-based stock funds post $3.2 billion weekly inflow: Lipper U.S.-based stock funds post $3.2 billion weekly inflow: Lipper
Florida business lender accused of accounting fraud settles with SEC Florida business lender accused of accounting fraud settles with SEC
Global hedge funds post April gains but still negative for the year: data Global hedge funds post April gains but still negative for the year: data

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment
© 2020 Stock Investors News. All rights reserved. XHTML / CSS Valid.