There are more billionaires than ever, but fortunes took a hit in 2018

More billionaires walk the earth than ever before, with their ranks surging 40 per cent in five years, new research shows.

The world’s 2,100 billionaires saw their fortunes swell 34.5 per cent from 2013 to 2018, to $US8.5 trillion ($12.4 trillion), according to UBS’s 2019 Billionaire Insights report released on Friday.  But 2018 was actually a losing year for most of them, thanks to global trade friction and stock market volatility. They lost a combined $US388 billion.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos: Tech billionaires continue to grow their fortunes.Credit:AP

Tech billionaires bucked that trend, growing their wealth by 3.4 per cent, or $US1.3 trillion, in 2018, according to the report. They’ve nearly doubled their ranks the past five years, from 76 to 148 in 2018.

“If tech billionaires’ wealth were a country, it would rank second only to the US,” the report said. “Looking back over five years, tech billionaires have driven almost a third of the growth in billionaire wealth. US tech billionaires accounted for more than half of that growth.”


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