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Madrid’s woes, US jobs drain super rich

Devon Pendleton New York

The world’s richest people lost a combined $24.4 billion (R209.5bn) last week as concerns over Spain’s rising borrowing costs and the sputtering American employment market caused global markets to tumble.

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson lost $2.2bn. Shares of his Nevada-based Las Vegas Sands fell 10.3 percent during the week. On Friday, Macau casinos reported gambling revenue rose 7.3 percent in May, its slowest pace since July 2009.

Adelson is the 22nd richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index. “We seem to be bogged down in a very sluggish pattern,” said John Carey at Pioneer Investments in Boston.

“The jobs report was discouraging, and it’s been discouraging the past several weeks. It reaffirms this fear that the economy is slowing.”

Mark Zuckerberg fell off the Bloomberg index. Shares of Facebook dropped 13.1 percent during the week. Zuckerberg is worth $14.1bn.

Mexico’s Carlos Slim remains the world’s richest person with a net worth of $63bn. The tycoon lost $3.1bn during the week, as shares of his Mexico City-based telecoms company America Movil fell 3.04 percent.

Bill Gates ranks second, with a net worth of $58.2bn. Eike Batista’s fortune fell 8.1 percent to $24.9bn.

Brazil’s richest man hired Banco Bradesco to sell a stake in his AUX gold business after dropping plans for an initial public offering. EBX Group, Batista’s holding company, decided a stake sale to investors would be more profitable than an offering.

Batista is the 12th richest person in the world.

Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing ranks 18th on the index with a net worth of $20.9bn.

On May 25, the 83-year-old billionaire said he would offer financial support to his younger son, Richard, to expand beyond the family’s Cheung Kong Holdings.

Four days later, the Wall Street Journal reported Richard Li was a prospective bidder for ING Groep’s Asia life insurance unit, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.

The index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5.30pm in New York and listed in dollars.

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