According to Forbes magazine it's been a difficult year for the richest people in the world! Last year there were 1,125 billionaires, this year only 793 people were rich enough to make the annual ranking, that’s a 30% decline from a year ago. Of the 1,125 billionaires who made last year's ranking, 373 fell off the list (355 from declining fortunes and 18 who died). There are 38 newcomers, plus three moguls who returned to the list after regaining their 10-figure fortunes. It is the first time since 2003 that the world has had a net loss in the number of billionaires.
Collectively the net worth of those on the list is $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from a year ago. Their average net worth fell 23% to $3 billion. The last time the average was that low was in 2003. Bill Gates regained the number one spot but lost $18 billion on the way. Warren Buffett, last year's No. 1, also saw his fortune decline by $25 billion as shares of Berkshire Hathaway fell nearly 50% in 12 months. The biggest loser this year, by dollars, was last year's biggest gainer. India's Anil Ambani lost $32 billion, 76% of his fortune, as shares of his Reliance Communications, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital all collapsed.
Worldwide, 80 out of the 355 drop-offs from last year's list had fortunes derived from finance or investments. Those who increased their fortunes did so by catering to budget-conscious consumers such as Uniqlo's Tadashi Yanai. Newcomers to the list include: Mexican Joaquín Guzmán Loera, one of the biggest suppliers of cocaine to the US.; Wang Chuanfu of China, whose company BYD Co. began selling electric cars in December; and American John Paul Dejoria, for his Paul Mitchell shampoos and Patrón Tequila.
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Picture from Creative Commons: Flickr: Kruggg6