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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

500 richest people in the world lose a combined $114bn

Billionaires' pockets hit hard as market rout eats into fortunes

Warren Buffett was hardest by stock slump as billionaires took a bit. Yuri Gripas/AFP
Warren Buffett was hardest by stock slump as billionaires took a bit. Yuri Gripas/AFP

A plunge in US stocks on Monday cut the fortunes of the world’s 500 richest people by $114 billion as the optimism over tax cuts that fuelled January’s gains gave way to worries about inflation.

Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, the world’s third-richest person, was hardest hit, losing $5.1bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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Berkshire is the biggest shareholder of Wells Fargo, which plunged 9.2 per cent, the most in the S&P 500. Mr Buffett, 87, was one of 18 billionaires in the Bloomberg ranking to lose more than $1bn on the day. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune tumbled by $3.6bn, the second-biggest decline.

Even Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, was not immune to the carnage. His fortune slipped $3.3bn to $116.4bn as shares of the retail behemoth fell 2.8 per cent. Alphabet’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin each took hits of about $2.3bn.

The rout followed more modest declines on Friday that erased $68.5bn in wealth from the world’s 500 richest people.