Throughout the pandemic, corporations and billionaires raked in record profits, even as millions of people lost their livelihoods, watched loved ones pass, and felt the sting of sky-high inflation.
In the past two years alone, billionaires’ fortunes increased as much as they had in the previous 23 years combined, according to a new study from Oxfam, pushing the groups’ total net worth to $12.7 trillion, or roughly 13.9% of global GDP. That’s a more than threefold increase since 2000.
During the pandemic, a new billionaire was minted every 30 hours on average, but it’s been a different story since the start of this year.
The S&P 500 has plummeted nearly 18% year to date, and cryptocurrencies have seen $1 trillion in value erased from the market, driving record losses for the world’s wealthiest.
But it’s not just billionaires that are feeling the sting of falling asset prices. JPMorgan Chase estimates that American households have collectively lost at least $5 trillion in wealth so far in 2022, and that number could rise to $9 trillion by the end of the year.
It’s “a wealth shock that is set to drag on growth in the coming year,” the investment bank said in a May 21 note to clients.
Despite billionaires’ recent losses, mounting losses for average consumers mean inequality continues to run rampant. In fact, Oxfam says the bottom half of global earners would have to work for an estimated 112 years to make what the top 1% is able to net in a single year.
Still, billionaires’ net worth has fallen almost $1.6 trillion since its November peak, Bloomberg estimates, and U.S. billionaires alone have seen their fortunes cut by roughly $800 billion.
Here’s a list of some of the billionaires who’ve lost the most in this year’s stock and crypto rout.
Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, tops the list for the largest year-to-date drop in net worth so far.
Zhao saw his net worth fall from nearly $95 billion in January to just $14.9 billion as of Friday while the cryptocurrency market tumbled.
The CEO famously lost $1.6 billion on his investment in Luna this month alone after the collapse of the stablecoin TerraUSD, leading him to fall from his spot as the 11th richest person in the world in January to the 113th richest person today.
Year-to-date net worth loss: $80.9 billion
While Elon Musk’s decision to buy Twitter has captured headlines over the past few months, the Tesla CEO has also watched his net worth plummet through the first five months of the year.
Tesla stock is down roughly 44% year to date, causing Musk’s fortune to drop from $270.1 billion in January to just $201 billion as of Friday.
Although, it’s important to note that even after the losses, Musk’s fortune still amounts to roughly 5.4% of the wealth held by the bottom 50% of Americans as of the end of last year, and he remains the world’s richest person.
Year-to-date net worth loss: $69.1 billion
Even though Jeff Bezos has stepped away from his CEO role at Amazon, the billionaire still owns roughly 10% of the e-commerce giant.
And with Amazon stock falling roughly 37% since the start of the year, Bezos has seen his net worth plunge from $192.1 billion in January to just $131 billion as of Friday. While Bezos remains the world’s second richest person, his fortune is now a far cry from the record $211 billion seen in July of last year.
Year-to-date net worth loss: $61.1 billion
Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of the largest luxury goods company in the world, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, takes the fourth spot in this year’s biggest billionaire losers list.
The business magnate, investor, and art collector managed to briefly capture the title of world’s richest man from Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in 2021, but as of Friday, he was only the third richest person on the planet.
Arnault, who celebrated his 73rd birthday in March, owns a 47.5% stake in LVMH and has watched as LVMH’s American ADR dropped 28% so far this year. His net worth now stands at $123 billion.
Year-to-date net worth loss: $55.2 billion
Mark Zuckerberg has also seen his fortune take a dive this year as Facebook shares have traded down 42% year to date.
The Facebook CEO saw his net worth drop from $122.5 billion in January to just $71.4 billion as of Friday.
Zuckerberg was once the third richest person in the world, but has since fallen to the #13 spot as of Friday.
Year-to-date net worth loss: $54.1 billion
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