- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2020

Even the richest of the rich have been affected by the economic ills spread by the coronavirus crisis.

Forbes, which has long tracked the comings and goings of billionaire fortunes, offers the latest tally.

But the number is going down.

“The richest people on Earth are not immune to the coronavirus,” the news organization reported in its annual assessment. “As the pandemic tightened its grip on Europe and America, global equity markets imploded, tanking many fortunes. As of March 18, when we finalized this list, Forbes counted 2,095 billionaires, 58 fewer than a year ago and 226 fewer than just 12 days earlier, when we initially calculated these net worths. Of the billionaires who remain, 51% are poorer than they were last year. In raw terms, the world’s billionaires are worth $8 trillion, down $700 billion from 2019.”

Forbes revealed that that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the world’s wealthiest person for the third year in a row, with a net worth of $113 billion. Bill Gates is second on the rarefied roster with $98 billion, French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault is third with $92 billion and Berkshire Hathaway tycoon Warren Buffet ranks fourth with $76.3 billion. Technology maven Larry Ellison is fifth, with $59 billion.

Michael Bloomberg has $48 billion and is No. 16, while President Trump ranks No. 1,142 on the lengthy list, worth $2.1 billion.

But there are some who have lost their uber-wealthy status.

“Altogether, 267 people who made last year’s list have dropped off as businesses faltered; among the most notable drop-offs is Adam Neumann of WeWork,” the Forbes analysis said. “Another 21 people died. Still, Forbes found 178 newcomers hailing from 20 countries, including some, like Zoom Video Communications founder and CEO Eric Yuan, whose service is booming amid our current shelter-in-place reality. The U.S. remains the country with the most billionaires, with 614, followed by greater China (including Hong Kong and Macao), with 456.”

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