Billionaires’ wealth falls for the first time in a decade

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Jeff Bezos

The world's 2,100 billionaires saw their fortunes swell 34.5 percent from 2013 to 2018, to $8.5 trillion, according to UBS's 2019 Billionaire Insights report released Friday.

The report comes as billionaires have become a policy issue in the 2020 USA presidential campaign, notably because of a pledge by candidates, including Sen. The lost a combined $388 billion.

The Swiss bank found tech tycoons' wealth grew 3.4% or $1.3 trillion in 2018, and the number of tech billionaires almost doubled from 76 to 148 in five years.

The Americas were the only region where billionaires retained their wealth due to the increased wealth of US tech entrepreneurs, the report said.

The combined wealth of the 40 increased 1.3 percent annually to US$85.5 billion previous year, with each billionaire contributing about US$2.1 billion, it said.

With 16 of Taiwan's billionaires aged over 70, an estimated US$29.8 billion is forecast to be passed on to their heirs over the next 20 years, he said.

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The latest edition of the Billionaires Report from Swiss wealth manager UBS and consultants PwC made for grim reading for the top 1% of wealthy individuals around the world.

Billionaires have become a key policy issue in the U.S. as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic presidential candidates have proposed wealth taxes.

"Billionaires should not exist", Sen. Meanwhile, in the EMEA region, wealth dipped nearly 6.8 percent to $2.4trn (€2.17trn), with the number of European billionaires falling by 2.9 percent to 598. The report suggests that there are only 749 billionaires at the end of 2018.

Taiwanese billionaires' wealth mainly comes from the real-estate, materials, and consumer and retail industries, due to the nation's social-economic environment and policies, PwC Taiwan financial services leader Richard Watanabe (吳偉臺) said at the conference.

The fortunes of the world's richest 2,101 people dropped by 4pc to $8.5 trillion (£6.6 trillion) in 2018 as the number of billionaires fell by 57, according to a report from UBS and PwC. The net worth of China's richest dropped 12.8%, which took dozens off of the billionaires list. And that was driven in large part by women, as the report also noted that at the number of female billionaires grew 46% in five years - outpacing the growth rate of male billionaires, which was 39% in the same period. The United States has 99 million people on that ranking, though it still has more millionaires, with about 40 percent of the world's total, according to the report.

As per the report, the net worth of China's richest dropped 12.8% in dollar terms.

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