The world’s richest people are getting even richer amid an unprecedented economic crisis.

A report from UBS and PwC finds billionaires — who number just 2,158 people globally — saw their combined wealth surpass $10 trillion for the first time while most of the world faced the devastating financial toll of extended lockdowns. Between April and July, billionaires’ wealth rose by 27 percent.

Disruptions to the global economy had a ripple effect on equity markets, which meant during the first few months of 2020, their wealth fell by a combined $564 billion. But the super-rich soon bounced back, and by the end of July, “billionaire wealth was back above its 2019 level,” according to the report.

Billionaires in some industries saw their wealth grow more than others, with technology and health care outperforming media and entertainment. But across all sectors, they reported no less than a 10 percent increase in wealth between April and July.

In their report, UBS and PwC credit the world’s billionaires with “being some of the most generous donors in the heat of the pandemic” and pledging $7.2 billion toward relief efforts between March and June — a sum equivalent to roughly 0.07 percent of their wealth.

“While this appears a small number compared with the billionaire class’s total net worth, the public announcements understate the true amount donated, given a tendency toward discretion,” the authors contend.

The Washington Post


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