The first half of the year was quite lucrative for the world’s wealthiest people.
In total, the 500 richest people gained an eye-popping US$852 billion (HK$6.67 trillion) in the first six months of 2023, Bloomberg reported on Monday. That made January through June the best half-year since the latter half of 2020, when the economy bounced back from its decline at the very beginning of the pandemic. So far this year, the S&P 500 is up 16 percent, while the Nasdaq 100 has risen 39 percent, thanks mainly to investor’s interest in artificial intelligence benefitting tech stocks. That bump made the first half of 2023 the Nasdaq 100’s best first half of a year ever.
In terms of individuals, Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, fared the best over the past six months, adding US$96.6 billion (HK$756 billion) to his fortune alone—with his current net worth sitting at US$234 billion (HK$1.83 trillion). After him, almost US$40 billion (HK$313 billion) behind, is Mark Zuckerberg, with an extra US$58.9 billion (HK$461 billion) so far this year. (He sits at No. 9 in the ranking of the wealthiest people in the world.) Rounding out the best performers in the first half of the year are Jeff Bezos (who added US$47.4 billion/ HK$371 billion), Larry Ellison (US$40.8 billion/ HK$319 billion), and Bernard Arnault (US$38.2 billion/ HK$291 billion).
While the overall total for billionaire gains is quite high, not everyone on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index experienced a bump. He’s still among the ranks of the ultra-wealthy, but Gautam Adani lost US$60.2 billion (HK$471 billion) from January through June, including the largest one-day loss with a drop of US$20.8 billion (HK$162 billion). (That was thanks to Hindenburg Research accusing the Adani Group of accounting fraud and stock manipulation, which Adani denies.) The biggest percentage decrease was experienced by Carl Icahn, whose fortune fell a whopping 57 percent, losing US$13.4 billion (HK$105 billion). Even still, Adani is the 21st richest person in the world, while Icahn sits at No. 194.
Despite major losses like these, Bloomberg noted that every person on its Billionaires Index made an average of US$14 million (HK$110 million) a day in the first six months of 2023. That sure sounds nice, doesn’t it?