by Rob Thubron
Musk, Bezos, Zuckerberg
got a lot richer
Covid-19 has decimated many
economies and several industries, costing millions of people their
For the world's
billionaires, however, the pandemic has helped their fortunes grow,
up by more than a quarter to a record high of over $10 trillion.
A study by
Swiss bank UBS and
accounting firm PwC found that
at the start of
April, global billionaire wealth stood at $8 trillion.
By July, following
the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it had reached $10.2
The previous peak was
$8.9 trillion recorded at the end of 2017.
A lot of that increase came from billionaires betting on the
recovery of global stock markets when they slumped during the
lockdowns (between March and April). With many governments launching
stimulus packages, the markets have rebounded, leaving the rich ever
Josef Stadler, the head of UBS'
global family office department, said (via The Guardian) that
billionaires had "the stomach" to buy more company shares when
equity markets around the world crashed.
Tech company shares have
risen sharply, thanks to increased demand for delivery services,
work-from-home products, and video-calling software.
Back in July, Amazon
Jeff Bezos saw the largest
single-day increase to his net wealth since the Bloomberg
Billionaire Index was created eight years ago.
As Amazon shares
jumped 7.9 percent, Bezos' worth surged by $13 billion to $189.3
Bezos has seen his
fortune increase by $74 billion this year, but that still isn't as
The Tesla boss is $76
billion richer since the start of 2020 and is now worth $103
US senator and former
presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said,
he plans to introduce
a tax on "obscene wealth gains" made by the super-rich during
Billionaires Pay Act" would put a 60 percent tax on the
increase in billionaires' net worth from March 18 through to the end
of the year.
Many of PwC's clients are
expecting new wealth taxes and an increase in direct taxation this
year as a way of funding government support packages.
A number of billionaires have donated some of their wealth to help
those impacted financially by Covid-19.
In the US, 98
billionaires donated a total of $4.5 billion, putting the UK to
shame - nine of the country's billionaires have donated just
The UBS/PwC report covers
2,000 billionaires from 43 markets, accounting for around 98 percent
of total billionaire wealth.