INTERNATIONAL - The world’s richest people became a little less well off last year, according to a report by UBS and PwC, as geopolitical turmoil and volatile equity markets reduced the wealth of billionaires for the first time since 2015.
Billionaires’ wealth fell by $388 billion globally to $8.539 trillion, the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report found, with a particularly sharp decline in Greater China - the second-biggest home for billionaires after the United States - and the Asia-Pacific region more broadly.
Private banks including the world’s largest wealth manager UBS have felt the effects of US-China trade tensions and global political uncertainties, as clients last year shied away from trading and taking on debt in favor of hoarding more cash.
The net worth of China’s richest dropped 12.8 percent in dollar terms on the back of tumbling stock markets and a weaker local currency and as growth in the world’s second-largest economy slowed to its lowest level in nearly three decades in 2018, the report found, knocking dozens off the billionaires list.
Despite the drop, China continues to produce a new billionaire every 2-2.5 days, UBS’s head of ultra-high net worth clients, Josef Stadler, said in the report released on Friday.