Dec 28, 2017

The world's rich become $1 trillion richer

Three prominent UAE entrepreneurs make it to super-elite list

Three prominent businessmen from the UAE are among the seven super-rich persons from the GCC figuring in Bloomberg's latest ranking of the world's 500 richest people whose combined net worth surged by $1 trillion in 2017, more than four times last year's gain.
By the end of trading on December 26, the planet's 500 billionaires controlled $5.3 trillion, up from $4.4 trillion on December 27, 2016.
"It's part of the second-most robust and second-longest bull market in history," said Mike Ryan, chief investment officer for the Americas at UBS Wealth Management.
"Of all the guidance we gave people over the course of this year, the most important advice was staying invested," Ryan pointed out. Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim, whose net worth was estimated at $6.36 billion, came top among the UAE billionaires, ranking 256th globally. Abdullah Al Ghurair, with $5.22 billion in net worth and ranking 362nd globally, is the second-richest from the UAE in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Hussain Sajwani of Damac Property Group was ranked third from the UAE with a net worth of $4.96 billion and ranked 385th globally.
Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal came top among GCC billionaires, ranked 58th globally with a net worth of $17.8 billion. The other three GCC super-rich, also from Saudi Arabia, include Mohamed Al Jaber ($8.27 billion, 188th), Mohamed Al Amoudi ($7.77 billion, 205th) and Sultan Al Kabeer ($4.67 billion, 418th).
Globally, founder Jeff Bezos added the most in 2017, a $34.2 billion gain that knocked Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates out of his spot as the world's richest person in October. Gates, 62, had held the spot since May 2013, and has been donating much of his fortune to charity, including a $4.6 billion pledge he made to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in August. Bezos, whose net worth topped $100 billion at the end of November, currently has a net worth of $99.6 billion compared with $91.3 billion for Gates.
George Soros also gave away a substantial part of his fortune, revealing in October that his family office had given $18 billion to his Open Society Foundations over the past several years, dropping the billionaire investor to 195th on the Bloomberg ranking, with a net worth of $8 billion.
India's equity market scaled new peaks in 2017, making it Asia's second-best performer. That added to the fortunes of nation's richest.
Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man with a net worth of nearly $40.3 billion, gained the most during the year. He added $17.6 billion to his net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index data compiled on December 20. The key trigger was his telecom arm Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Gautam Adani, whose infrastructure group is the country's largest coal trader, gained $5.56 billion this year, riding on stock market gains. He is followed by Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of the world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal, which gained amid an uptick in global steel demand.
Radhakrishnan Damani of Avenue Supermarts features next, helped by the blockbuster market debut of the parent of D-Mart supermarket chain that turned him into a billionaire.
Azim Premji, 56 per cent owner of software services provider Wipro, completes the top five gainers.
The 23 per cent increase on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world's 500 richest people, compares with an almost 20 per cent increase for both the MSCI World Index and Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
The 38 Chinese billionaires on the index added $177 billion in 2017, a 65 per cent gain that was the biggest of the 49 countries represented in the index.
The number of Asian billionaires surpassed the US for the first time. The US has the largest presence on the index, with 159 billionaires who added $315 billion, an 18 per cent gain that gives them a collective net worth of $2 trillion.
Russia's 27 richest people added $29 billion to $275 billion, surpassing the collective net worth they had before western economic sanctions began.
It was also a banner year for tech moguls, with the 57 technology billionaires on the index adding $262 billion, a 35 per cent increase that was the most of any sector on the ranking.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg had the fourth-largest increase on the index, adding $22.6 billion, or 45 per cent to raise net worth to $72.6 billion.
In all, the 440 billionaires on the index who added to their fortunes in 2017, gained a combined $1.05 trillion.
Prince Alwaleed, the richest person in Saudi Arabia, dropped $1.9 billion to $17.8 billion after he was detained in a crackdown against corruption.
There were 60 billionaires who fell from the ranking, including South African retailer Christo Wiese, whose fortune dropped to $1.8 billion from a peak of $7.7 billion after news of an accounting scandal.

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