- BBC News World
The 500 richest people on the planet had a spectacular year.
The combined fortune of these “super-rich” reached the all-time high of US $ 8.4 trillion, a quantity far greater than the size of the economy of great powers such as Japan, Germany or the United Kingdom, and the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of all of Latin America.
Wall Street rolled out the red carpet for them with a gigantic surge in the stock market that pushed the wealth of the tycoons to levels never seen before.
Such as the bags went up, the price of properties, cryptocurrencies, raw materials and many other products also skyrocketed, despite the second year of the pandemic that still keeps many developing countries unable to lift their heads.
This is how the combined wealth of these 500 tycoons climbed more than $ 1 trillion, as if the foot were on the accelerator with no restriction on the speed limit, according to the Billionaires Index of Bloomberg.
Elon Musk’s record
Among the 10 richest tycoons on the planet, the one who saw the biggest increase in his fortune was the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, with an overwhelming increase of a 75% in just one year, leaving other moguls like Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates far behind in the ranking.
As if a net worth of US $ 273.5 billion were not enough, in the first days of this year Musk beat his own record, when this Tuesday he added another US $ 32 billion to his fortune.
(Percentage of increase in equity in 1 year)
Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The jump came after Tesla’s share price soared, following the announcement that the electric car maker launched 936,000 vehicles last year, a brand that far exceeded analyst projections.
Musk is followed by other super-rich like Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (with an increase in their fortunes last year of 57% and 56%, respectively).
Rounding out the list are the founder of the luxury brand business empire LVMH, Bernard Arnault (55%), and the former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, (50%).
In what context does this increase in wealth occur?
To the extent that the wealthiest benefited from large stock market gains – in a year in which interest rates were historically low and both central banks and governments injected a lot of money into economies – lower-income people and the most vulnerable countries were not part of the stock market party.
Is that the recovery from the economic impact left by covid-19 has been uneven and much of the GDP growth that countries showed during the past year is due to a “rebound effect” because the comparison base with 2020 is very low.
And, on the other hand, much of the growth in recent months has been driven by factors such as consumption or the increase in the price of raw materials, but it is not a productive growth that shows a more fundamental recovery.
Latin America is far from returning to its pre-pandemic expansion levels, which were already low in 2019.
Globally, 40% of the poorest population have not yet begun to recover their lost income due to the pandemic and more than 100 million people fell into the extreme poberty due to covid-19, according to the World Bank.
But not all billionaires did well …
The Chinese financial elite had its worst year since Bloomberg began monitoring wealth in 2012, racking up losses of nearly $ 61 billion when the government launched an offensive to counter the power of big tech, amid high private sector indebtedness.
Hui Ka Yan, once the second richest person in China, lost $ 17 billion in wealth after his empire, Evergrande, collapsed as it became the world’s most indebted real estate company.
Market analyst projections for 2022 suggest that this year will continue to present good conditions for investors, but the gigantic gains of 2021 are not expected, according to almost 50 financial institutions surveyed by Bloomberg.
One of the issues that keeps those who manage large fortunes attentive is the increase in inflationary pressures, a concern that also has governments and central banks waiting to make decisions.
Looking ahead to 2022, economists have argued that the future of the economic recovery will be subject to a multiplicity of factors such as, for example, the new variants of covid-19, the vaccination process, inflationary pressures, in addition to the direction of international trade and the evolution of political conflicts such as the relationship between the United States and China, or threats of Russia on Ukraine.
So far, one area where there seems to be consensus is that in 2023 things should be much better than they are today.
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Who are the billionaires who got richer in 2021 and how to explain the incredible increase in their fortunes – BBC News World