World’s Richest Gain $21.4 Billion as Batista Falters

The world’s richest people added a combined $21.4 billion to their collective net worth this week as the wealth gap between billionaire Carlos Slim and Eike Batista widened to more than $50 billion.

Batista’s net worth fell $4 billion. Shares of the tycoon’s commodities empire plunged after his oil company, OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA, cut its production targets by as much as 75 percent on June 27. Batista, 55, is now worth $20.5 billion and ranks 23rd on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily measure of the wealthiest people on Earth.

Global markets surged Friday after European leaders reached an agreement that eased concern banks will fail, erasing losses sustained by some billionaires earlier in the week. Stocks and the euro surged the most this year, and oil had its biggest gain since 2009.

“The fact that European leaders convened until four in the morning convinced investors that they are committed to some kind of a workable solution,” said Jack Ablin, who helps oversee $60 billion at BMO Harris Private Bank in Chicago. “They know it’s not going to be easy to keep their leaky boat afloat.”

Leaders of the 17 euro countries dropped requirements that taxpayers get preferred creditor status on aid to Spain’s banks and opened the way to recapitalize lenders directly, while relaxing conditions on potential help for Italy.

The S&P 500 gained 2.03 percent during the week to close at 1362.16 in New York June 29. The Stoxx 600 Index climbed 1.86 percent during the week, closing at 251.17.

Slim, Buffett

Carlos Slim, 72, remains the world’s richest person with a net worth of $72.5 billion. The telecommunications tycoon gained $3.4 billion as shares of Mexico City-based Grupo Financiero Inbursa SAB rose 3.34 percent. Slim’s America Movil SAB succeeded in amassing the 28 percent stake it sought in Royal KPN NV, the former Dutch phone monopoly.

Bill Gates is $10.1 billion behind Slim. The 56-year-old Microsoft Corp. co-founder’s fortune gained $1.1 billion. Shares of the Redmond, Washington-based company lost 0.36 percent. He is worth $62.4 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman Warren Buffett, 82, ranks third on the index with a net worth of $46.5 billion. His fortune is up 8.8 percent this year.

Europe’s Richest

Amancio Ortega, the 76-year-old founder of Zara clothing chain owner Inditex SA, is Europe’s richest man. The Spaniard’s fortune rose $2.5 billion as shares of Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer, gained 6.03 percent during the week. He is worth $42.8 billion.

In Europe, Ortega is ahead of Swedish billionaires Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the IKEA furniture chain, and Stefan Persson, the chairman of clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB.

Richest man in Asia is Li Ka-Shing, who ranks 15th on the index with a net worth of $22.9 billion. Shares of the billionaire’s Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. rose 3.56 percent during the week in Hong Kong.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars. --With assistance from Alexander Cuadros in Sao Paulo. Editors: Matthew G. Miller, Pamela Roux

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