The world’s 400 richest people lost $182bn this past week from their collective fortunes as weak manufacturing data from China and a rout in commodities sent global markets plunging.
The weekly drop for the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a group that includes Warren Buffett and Glencore’s Ivan Glasenberg, was the biggest since tracking of the expanded list began in September 2014. The combined net worth of the index members fell by $76bn on Friday alone, when the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of US stocks ended its worst week since 2011.
“For them that’s a fractional percentage, even though $182bn is a big number,” said John Collins, director of investment advisory at Aspiriant, which oversees more than $8bn for high net worth clients. “A week like this feels really bad, but when you take a step back, in a big picture view it’s not a disaster by any means.”
Friday’s losses put the world’s richest 400 into the red for the year to date. They’re now down $74bn in 2015, with a collective net worth of $3.98 trillion.
The week’s largest setback in dollar terms was experienced by Buffett, who saw his fortune drop by $3.6bn as Berkshire Hathaway slipped more than 5%. The investor is the world’s third-wealthiest person, with a fortune of $63.4bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The slump in oil, which had its longest weekly losing streak since 1986 amid signs of an extended supply glut, contributed to $15.2bn in losses for the world’s wealthiest energy billionaires. Continental Resources chairperson Harold Hamm saw $895m, or 9% of his net worth, vanish this week.
Glasenberg, chief executive officer of mining company Glencore, lost $237m during the week as commodity prices slid to their lowest levels in 13 years. Glencore reached a record low in London on Friday, down more than 8% from a week earlier, after the trading house reported its profit sank 56% in the first half of the year. Glasenberg’s fortune has decreased more than 40% in 2015, to $3.1bn.
China’s 26 wealthiest people, pummeled by Hong Kong’s bear market and a weaker yen, lost $18.8bn during the week. Wang Jianlin of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties was hit hardest, losing $3.5bn.
Eleven billionaires added to their fortunes in spite of the market turmoil. The week’s biggest dollar gainer was Sun Pharmaceuticals’ Dilip Shanghvi. The world’s 39th-richest person became $467m wealthier, elevating his net worth to $18.9bn.