Coronavirus outbreak makes a dent of $408 bn in world’s top 100 billionaires’ wealth in 2 months

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Published: April 7, 2020 12:15:38 AM

Stock markets across the world have dropped significantly in the past two months, with the Dow Jones down 21%, India, France, Germany and the UK down a quarter, Japan 18% and HK 10%.

India’s three drop-offs from the Hurun Top 100 were Gautam Adani, down 37% or $6 bn, Shiv Nadar, down 26% or $5 bn and Uday Kotak, down 28% or $4 bn.

The Covid-19 outbreak has led to an unprecedented loss to the global wealth with the top 100 billionaires losing $408 billion or 13% of the total wealth in two months, wiping out all gains made in the past two and a half years, according to a special report by the China-based Hurun Report. This special report follows on from the Hurun Global Rich List 2020, which had a wealth cut-off of January 31, 2020.

Stock markets across the world have dropped significantly in the past two months, with the Dow Jones down 21%, India, France, Germany and the UK down a quarter, Japan 18% and HK 10%. The only major stock market to see a gain was China, up 0.2%. Most currencies weakened against the dollar, with the British pound down 6.3%, the Indian rupee down 5.2%, the Chinese yuan 2.3% and the euro 0.4%. Only 9% of the Hurun Global Top 100 saw their wealth increase, 86% saw their wealth decrease and 5% were unchanged.

Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher, said “The last two months saw wealth loss equivalent to each of the Hurun Top 100 losing $75 m a day. China has been the relative winner, with its stock markets weathering the virus better than its US and European counterparts. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the world had 2,816 ‘known’ dollar billionaires. Today, two months later, that number is now down by 20%, as stock markets across the world have wiped out wealth.”

Anas Rahman Junaid, MD & chief researcher, Hurun Report India, said, “India’s top entrepreneurs have been hit by a 26% drop in the stock markets and a 5.2% drop in the value of the rupee compared with the US dollar. For Mukesh Ambani, it has been a perfect storm, with his wealth down 28%.”

India’s three drop-offs from the Hurun Top 100 were Gautam Adani, down 37% or $6 bn, Shiv Nadar, down 26% or $5 bn and Uday Kotak, down 28% or $4 bn. Interestingly, nine billionaires saw their wealth rise in the past two months, all from China. “Whilst the virus has created a surge in demand around the world for medical equipment manufacturers, lockdown has created a boom in video conferencing for businesses and distance learning for children as well as, surprisingly, Chinese pork producers,” said Hoogewerf.

Two of the three largest risers from the Hurun Top 100 were Chinese pork producers Qin Yinglin and wife Qian Ying of Muyuan added $3 bn to take their wealth to $22 bn, and Liu Yonghao of New Hope added $2.5 bn. Alex Xu Hang saw a surge in demand from around the world for ventilator and life support medical equipment manufacturer Mindray, driving his wealth up 26% or $2.8 bn to $13.5 bn.

Eric Yuan Zheng, 50, of video conferencing platform Zoom, was the biggest gainer of the past two months, seeing his wealth grow 77%, or $3.5 bn to $8 bn. Other gainers include Li Yongxin and his mother Lu Zhongfang of Chinese civil service test prep platform Offcn, whose wealth was up 20% to $11.5 bn, on the back of better than expected financial results and an online marketing drive during the coronavirus outbreak. The biggest losers in the past two months were Bernard Arnault of LVMH, whose wealth was down $30 bn, losing $500 mn a day.

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