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$10 TRILLION: The Rich have got even richer during Covid lockdown

A new report has shown that even as economies are contracting and concerns about employment rise, the richest people in the world have seen their wealth rocket by a massive 27%  during the COVID-19 crisis. 

A report by Swiss bank UBS and accounting firm PwC, found that global billionaire wealth climbed to a staggering $10.2 trillion between April and July this year, setting a new record  – and up from $8 trillion at the start of April.

The “Riding the storm” study, published Wednesday looked at more than 2,000 billionaires and found their wealth grew by more than a quarter during the early months of the pandemic to reach $10.2 trillion in July, breaking the previous record of $8.9 trillion at the end of 2019.

Rallying stock prices and growth in technology and healthcare helped send the wealth of the world’s richest break into new heights.  During the lockdown, between April 7 and July 31 this year, billionaires in the technology, healthcare and industrial sectors saw gains of between 36%-44% gains.

25 years ago when UPS and PwC began their database, billionaire wealth stood at just over €1 trillion – but has grown almost ten-fold since.

While the lockdown will see many small businesses go to the wall, it has proved a boon for giants like Amazon. Many also benefited from government stimulus packages

“Billionaire wealth is loosely correlated with equity markets,” the ‘Riding the Storm’ report noted. “From the end of March, governments’ huge fiscal and quantitative easing packages drove a recovery in financial markets.”

‘Over half of the stocks and shares owned by American households are held by the richest 1% according to research by Goldman Sachs GS +0.4%in February. As markets rise, as they have done since March, the wealthiest therefore see the biggest gains,’ Forbes reported .

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