Brazil's Richest Get Richer Despite Political Turmoil

It’s a good time to be rich in Brazil.

Despite a nationwide corruption scandal, impeachment proceedings, a slump in iron ore and backlash against the backers of infrastructure for the summer Olympics, the wealth increase in Brazil during the past 12 months is leading global billionaire gains.

This year’s rise in its equity markets has propelled Brazil’s 10 biggest fortunes by a collective 12.3 percent in 2016, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That compares with a 1.2 percent gain for the world’s 400 richest people.

The real is the world’s best-performing currency this year and the Ibovespa benchmark index has soared 23 percent. The momentum comes on expectations that president Dilma Rousseff will be impeached and replaced by an administration ready to enact reforms to stabilize Latin America’s largest economy.

The average year-to-date increase for the Brazilians ranked by the index is $914 million, compared with a $115 million gain for the world’s 400 richest. Roberto, Jose and Joao Marinho, owners of Brazil’s largest media conglomerate, have grown $3.9 billion wealthier this year and the country’s richest person, investor Jorge Paulo Lemann, has added $1.9 billion.

Brazil’s billionaires have outperformed China’s 10 richest, who have shed 15 percent of their collective net worth in the past 12 months.

The 10 richest Europeans have also seen their combined net worth shrink since last May.

While the Brazilians have outpaced the 10 richest in the U.S. in 2016, they still lag their 12-month gains.

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