The world's billionaires lost a total of US$388 billion in 2018


Billionaires took a hit in 2018.

The world's billionaires saw their collective fortunes dip last year for the first time in three years, erasing US$388 billion (S$527.5 billion) of their net worth. The total assets of local billionaires shrank by 78 billion dollars to 500.9 billion dollars within a year.

The net worth of China's richest dropped 12.8 per cent 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 almost three decades in 2018, the report found, knocking dozens off the billionaires' list.

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"Billionaires are nonconformists who demonstrate individualism at an early age when they break more than a few rules", Badziag wrote in his book, "The Billion Dollar Secret: 20 Principles of Billionaire Wealth and Success". In the US alone, the number of billionaires rose by 33, or 3.8 percent, to a total of 749.

Taiwan's billionaires remained predominantly male, with only one female, the report said. China alone lost 48 billionaires, leaving 325 billionaires in the country.

Entrepreneur Rafael Badziag, meanwhile, spent five years conducting face-to-face interviews with 21 self-made billionaires and found that the same characteristics that make them successful can also lead to their downfalls. Only the Americas bucked the trend, lifted by the fortunes of U.S. tech entrepreneurs. It was only the American tech entrepreneurs who continued to buoy the ranks of the United States' wealthiest. "USA tech billionaires accounted for more than half of that growth".

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Warren released the calculator after reports of Michael Bloomberg's possible entry into the 2020 presidential race, a candidacy that was lauded by fellow billionaires like hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman. While the amount of wealth held by billionaires across the Americas was flat, the total number of billionaires went up by 4.8% in 2018 for a total of 749 billionaires in the region.

The report, which looked at 603 public companies controlled by billionaires, said the companies' annualized gain was 17.8% over the 15-year period, compared with 9.1% gain for the MSCI All Country World Index. In the USA, billionaires' wealth still nudged up by 0.1 percent, or $4.4 billion, to $3.6 trillion.

Billionaires across the globe continue to be involved in philanthropy, with 400 of the top 500 billionaires publicly giving. Poverty and the environment received the least amount of charitable giving.

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