Well if there’s one thing that should make those without a pot to piss in happier about the widening inequality gap in this country, it’s that the world’s richest are losing a boat load of money – an inconceivable amount of money to many – as a result of the recent market pullback amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The world’s 500 richest people lost a collective $331 billion on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. This is the biggest one day drop in the eight year history of Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s Index.
It marks the end of a decade where Fed policy helped the rich accumulate $6.1 trillion in wealth. Many of those gains suffered huge losses over the last four days on the back of coronavirus fears and the plunge in oil prices.
The rich have lost 16% of their collective net worth since the beginning of the year, according to the Bloomberg index. The slowdown has affected every industry from every geography.
Charles Doraine, president of Doraine Insurance Group and a former wealth manager said: “People right now are afraid. Things are being introduced to the world of investing that have never been there before — health risks. This is stuff beyond the market’s normal fears and concerns.”
And anxiety about the virus is even gripping the super wealthy. Recall, days ago, we wrote about how some of the world’s richest were preparing for the pandemic. There has been a spike in demand for private jets, cancelled charity events and an “exodus to second homes,” Bloomberg writers.
On Thursday, many of the wealthy scrambled to get flights back to the U.S., from Europe, after President Trump announced his European travel ban.
Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma fracking billionaire, dropped off the billionaire’s index after losing almost half of his net worth due to the plunge in oil prices. Sheldon Adelson, who owns the Las Vegas Sands, is down about $11.7 billion since the beginning of the year. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison dropped six spots on the billionaire’s index after Carnival shares dropped to a 23 year low and the company announced it was suspending voyages.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos saw a stunning $8.1 billion net worth drop in just one day.
But the effects aren’t just in the United States: Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, lost $9.5 billion in one day. Guilherme Benchimol, founder of XP Inc. in Brazil, lost his billionaire status as shares of his brokerage fell 34% below its December IPO price. And Russia’s two richest people are down a combined $65 billion this year, mostly as a result of Russia’s oil price war with Saudi Arabia.