Record year for the super-rich: one new billionaire every 17 hours in 2020
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Record year for the super-rich: one new billionaire every 17 hours in 2020

From left to right: Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Credit: Belga

Despite the coronavirus crisis, the world’s richest people became even wealthier, as the number of billionaires worldwide rose to 2,755 in 2020, up by 660 from the previous year, according to Forbes’ 35th annual billionaire’s list.

The magazine found that the assets of all people included on the list had a combined worth of $13.1 trillion (€11.02 trillion), an increase of $5.1 trillion (€4.2 trillion) compared to 2019, whilst 86% of all billionaires managed to increase their wealth despite the crisis.

It reported a record-high of 493 newcomers to the list, which equates to one new billionaire every 17 hours, whilst another 250 people who had dropped out of the list in the past years made a come-back.

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The top ten richest are worth $1.15 trillion (€967 billion), up by two-thirds from $686 billion (€577 billion) last year, and there are now four people in the world who have assets worth over $100 billion, up from just one last year – Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos.

Bezos led the list for the fourth year in a row, with a wealth of $177 billion (€149 billion), up by $64 billion (€53.8 billion) from a year ago, as a result of surging Amazon shares, according to Forbes.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX made the biggest progress and landed in second place with $151 billion (€127 billion), $126.4 billion (€106.3 billion) more than in 2019,  as a result of a 705% increase in Tesla shares.

The magazine based its calculations of the net worths on stock prices and exchange rates from 5 March.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times