The number of billionaires in the world dipped in 2022 due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, monetary policy tightening, stock market falls and the Chinese economic slowdown, UBS said Thursday.
Switzerland’s biggest bank, which is among the world’s largest wealth managers, said there were 2,668 dollar billionaires in March 2022 — 87 fewer than a year earlier.
It said they had a cumulative fortune of $12.7 trillion compared to $13.1 trillion the year before, after tracking their wealth.
“However, the total wealth and number of billionaires is likely to have fallen further since March 2022 due to declines in asset prices,” UBS said.
There were 273 new billionaires in 2022, while 360 dropped out.
“It’s a time of shifting fortunes. Rapidly rising interest rates, stop-start pandemic re-openings and war in Europe are feeding market uncertainty and volatility, with wealth created and eroded in almost equal measure,” said the UBS Billionaire Ambitions report.
“Yet amidst the instability some themes persist — especially the broad concept of smart innovators rising to the top.”
The sectors with the most billionaires were finance and investments (392) and technology (348).
The billionaire population in the Asia-Pacific region remained the largest but slipped back by 59 to 1,084.
“Mainland China’s zero-Covid policy slowed the growth after many years as the world’s fastest-growing large economy,” UBS said, as the number of Chinese billionaires dropped from 626 to 540.
The number of billionaires in the United States rose from 724 to 735.
The numbers in western Europe fell from 474 to 467; and in eastern Europe from 154 to 127. The number in the Middle East and Africa dropped from 91 to 89.
The wealth of billionaires had shot up in 2021 thanks to the ultra-loose monetary policies imposed to stem the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had resulted in a stock market surge, said the report.