Musk, Bezos fortunes plummet as billionaires face worst six months since 1970

World's 500 richest people lose combined total of $1.4 trillion in first half of 2022



By Web Desk

Published: Sun 3 Jul 2022, 11:27 AM

Last updated: Sun 3 Jul 2022, 12:18 PM

The combined wealth of the world's 500 richest people have faced the worst six months since 1970.

According to Bloomberg, the uber-wealthy have lost a combined total of $1.4 trillion in the first half of 2022.

The top three on the Bloomberg Billionaires' Index include Elon Musk, the world's richest person, who has lost almost $62 billion. Jeff Bezos' fortune was slashed by about $63 billion, and Mark Zuckerberg's net worth dipped by more than half.

The plunge marks a 180-degree turn from the last two years when the billionaire class' coffers swelled as values increased when governments and central banks released stimulus packages to offset economic crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, shares of the world's biggest companies, including Tesla and Amazon, are now losing altitude fast as policymakers raise interest rates to offset rising inflation, effectively slashing the fortunes of the billionaires who own them. Tesla had its worst quarter ever in the three months through June, while Amazon.com dropped by the most since the web bubble burst.

The dip nonetheless only marks a small move towards narrowing the wealth inequality gap between the billionaire class and the poorest. Musk and Bezos, at $208.5 billion and $129.6 billion respectively, still have the biggest fortunes in the world.

Bernard Arnault, France's richest person on the Bloomberg Index, ranks third with a $128.7 billion fortune, followed by Bill Gates with $114.8 billion.

They're the only four that are worth more than $100 billion – at the start of the year, 10 people worldwide exceeded that amount, including Zuckerberg, who is now 17th on the wealth list with $60 billion.

Unique mindset

The wealthiest class can withstand their losses but probably continue to look for bargains, says Thorne Perkin, president of Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management.

"Often, their mindset is a bit more contrarian," Perkin said. "A lot of our clients look for opportunities when there's trouble in the streets."

There were several examples of this unique mindset.

Amid the economic fallout from Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine, Vladimir Potanin, Russia's wealthiest man with a $35.2 billion fortune, acquired Societe Generale's entire position in Rosbank. He also bought out Russian mogul Oleg Tinkov's stake in a digital bank for a fraction of what it was once worth. Tinkov had sanctions imposed against him.

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Musk also put his highly talked about $44 billion deal to buy Twitter on hold. He offered to pay $54.20 a share.

He said in a Bloomberg interview that there were "a few unresolved matters" before the deal went through.

"There's a limit to what I can say publicly," he said. "It is somewhat of a sensitive matter."


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