The world’s wealthiest people dropped a combined $1.4 billion from their collective net worth this week as global equity indexes sputtered.
Eight of the planet’s 10 richest people saw their fortunes decline, led by Amancio Ortega of Spain. Europe’s richest man shed $2 billion from his fortune as shares of Inditex SA, the world’s largest clothing retailer, fell 3.4 percent from a record on July 3. Ortega, 76, maintained his position as the world’s fourth-richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily measure of the world’s wealthiest people.
Central bank rate cuts in Europe and China did little to bolster global markets. The European Central Bank reduced its benchmark rate to a record low of 0.75 percent in an effort to revive consumer spending. The People’s Bank of China cut rates for the second time in a month in response to estimates that lowered the country’s GDP growth forecast to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent.
“The capital markets are getting tired of the rhetoric and they are getting tired of monetary policy,” said Jack Ablin, who helps oversee $60 billion at BMO Harris Private Bank in Chicago. “Eventually they are going to need to see some substantive action and it remains to be seen whether or not European policy makers are up to the task.”
The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index rose 1.3 percent this week, its fifth straight weekly advance. In the U.S., where job growth for June was slower than forecast, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.6 percent in New York.
Carlos Slim, 72, remains No. 1 in the world with a net worth of $72.1 billion. The telecommunications tycoon lost $314 million this week after his wireless carrier, America Movil SAB, failed to force the Mexican government to grant it a pay-TV license after an appeals court ruled against the company.
Bill Gates is $10.1 billion behind Slim. The 56-year-old Microsoft Corp. co-founder dropped $321 million after shares of the Redmond, Washington-based company fell 1.3 percent. Microsoft said it would take a $6.2 billion writedown related to its purchase of AQuantive Inc. The accounting change will probably mean the company will report a loss for the quarter, which ended in June.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett, 81, ranks third on the index with a net worth of $46.1 billion. His fortune dropped $387 million for the week.
Three of the week’s biggest gainers came out of Asia. Cheng Yu Tung’s fortune jumped $1.9 billion after Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd., the world’s biggest jewelry retailer, reported a 79 percent jump in net income fueled by strong demand for luxury goods in China.
Hong Kong property magnate Lee Shau Kee, 84, climbed three places on the list to 30th as China’s rate cuts helped buoy the real estate market. Lee is worth $18.6 billion.
Meanwhile, Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing, gained $723 million as shares of his conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., rose 6.2 percent this week after announcing it would form a joint venture with Vodafone Group Ltd. in Ireland. Li ranks 14th on the list with a net worth of $23.6 billion.
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.