The number of billionaires worldwide rose 8.5% to 2,825 in 2019, while their combined wealth was up 10.3% to $9.4 trillion.
The number of UAE billionaires as well as their wealth shrank in 2019 due to lower oil prices, weakening of the property sector and lower stock market returns.
There were 47 billionaires in the UAE in 2019 as against 55 in the previous year, while their total wealth dropped to $163 billion (Dh598 billion) as against $165 billion (Dh605 billion), according to Wealth-X’s latest report.
“The decline was largely the result of lower oil sector prices and investment, weakened real estate and construction activity, comparatively low stock market returns and heightened regional geopolitical instability,” said Maya Imberg, senior director of Thought Leadership & Analytics at Wealth-X.
The UAE saw its ranking drop three places to 13th, but was ahead of Canada and Singapore, which are home to 46 and 45 billionaires, respectively.
Globally, US, China, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, UK, Hong Kong, India, Saudi Arabia and France are home to the highest number of billionaires.
Dubai among 15 top cities
Among the cities, Dubai’s ranking dropped three positions, but the city still remained among the top 15 cities.
According to Wealth-X, Dubai dropped to the 11th position with 38 billionaires residing in the emirate at the end of 2019, more than Sao Paulo (33), Istanbul (32), Hangzhou (32) and Tokyo (30). New York, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Moscow, London, Beijing, Singapore, Los Angeles, Shenzhen and Mumbai are the top 10 cities with the highest number of billionaires.
More billionaires globally
The number of billionaires worldwide rose 8.5 per cent to 2,825 in 2019, while their combined wealth was boosted by 10.3 per cent to $9.4 trillion – more than reversing the previous year’s decline.
Despite a loss of momentum in the global economy and a still turbulent geopolitical environment, financial markets saw a bullish performance on the whole.
North America and Asia saw the strongest growth in billionaire numbers and collective net worth. Both regions enjoyed double-digit growth on both measures. There were below-average, but still healthy, gains in billionaire wealth in Europe, the Pacific and Africa.
In contrast, wealth creation in the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean was subdued, with declines in the overall billionaire population.
China recorded the strongest growth in billionaire population and combined wealth. The US also showed robust growth and remains by far the dominant billionaire country, accounting for 28 per cent of the global billionaire population.
The top 15 countries are home to more than three-quarters of the world’s billionaires – all but one (the UAE) recorded an increase in their billionaire population and cumulative wealth in 2019.
Billionaires’ net worth has been affected significantly by the fallout from Covid-19.
Not all billionaires are created equal. The number of billionaires in technology, insurance, business services and healthcare grew by between 6 per cent and 9 per cent during the first five months of 2020 compared with 2019. Billionaires in shipping, apparel (including luxury) and aerospace experienced the worst performances.