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Bezos, Gates, Arnault: World’s richest bleed money amid coronavirus

How much the world's richest have lost since the coronavirus outbreak. Source: Getty

Global stock markets have been increasingly volatile as the coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc on economies worldwide, and while some investors might be losing thousands, the world’s richest are losing billions.

Over in the US, Wall Street sunk to a three-year low on Wednesday as news circulated that global coronavirus cases soared above 200,000.

On Tuesday, Wall Street suffered its biggest drop since 1987, tumbling 12 per cent - a move which saw US companies lose more than US$2 trillion in value in the first few minutes of trading, with Apple, Amazon and Microsoft losing a total of US$300 billion.

And with trillion-dollar companies losing billions, their billion-dollar bosses are bleeding cash.

Today: Billionaires reshuffled

The world’s richest have reshuffled slightly as a result of the market volatility, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest ban, has gained around $1 billion back as of March 19, despite losing billions over the last month.

His total net worth as of today stands at US$113 billion - down US$4 billion since the beginning of the year. 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is again the second-richest man, with a net worth of US$94 billion, followed by Warren Buffett at US$68.1 billion and luxury goods brand LVMH founder Bernard Arnault at US$58.1 billion. 

March 9: LVMH founder loses standing

In July last year, Arnault, whose brand is behind Louis Vuitton and Moët & Chandon, overtook Gates as the world’s second-richest man, but this market volatility has seen him lose standing.

Arnault’s net-worth topped around US$110 billion in January this year, but saw his fortune drop US$6 billion overnight, and fall around US$30 billion in just two months.

Now, Arnault is the fourth-richest man.

March 9: Bezos loses US$7 billion

On March 9, Amazon shares fell 7 per cent, causing Bezos to lose US$7 billion in paper wealth overnight, amounting to losses of more than US$18 billion over that month.

The sting brought his wealth down to US$110 billion from US$117 billion. 

Bezos has since clawed back US$3 billion of his fortune, bringing his net-worth to US$113 billion.

March 9: Musk drops US$4 billion

Tesla CEO Elon Musk may have tweeted that the coronavirus panic was “dumb”, but he still saw around US$4 billion of his paper wealth drop overnight that same Monday.

This brings his losses over the entire month to US$12 billion. 

Musk is in a slightly better position than Bezos given Tesla’s huge share gains - up 126 per cent in the last 12 months - meaning overall, Musk is around US$4 billion up for the entire year.

March 9: Zuckerberg loses US$4 billion

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the sixth-richest person, wasn’t spared by the market sell-off, losing US$4.2 billion as a result of the turmoil.

February 29: US$444 billion lost

On February 29, the combined fortune of the world’s 500 richest people fell by US$444 billion as the coronavirus outbreak began to rattle equity markets worldwide. 

The Dow Jones plummeted over 12 per cent - the biggest 5-day slide since the global financial crisis, and wiped out US$6 trillion from global stocks.

The world’s three richest men, Bezos, Gates and Arnault, lost a combined wealth of US$30 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Around 80 per cent of billionaires on the index are now in the red as global economies struggle to stem the damage caused by the virus.

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