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The world's millionaires lost $2 trillion in 2018

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is thee world's richest person. Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

The world’s richest people saw their collective wealth decline for the first time in 7 years in 2018, according to a new report.

Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2019, published on Tuesday, said the wealth of high net worth individuals around the world declined by 3% last year. That equates to $2 trillion of lost wealth among the world’s millionaires, who are collectively worth over $68 trillion.

How the wealth of the world's millionaires has changed over time. Photo: Capgemini

“Millionaires next door”, as Capgemini called them, saw their net worth largely unchanged last year but the ultra wealthy (those worth more than $30 million) saw a large decline that accounted for 75% of the lost wealth.

The fall was down to slowing economic growth in China and weak stock markets globally, consultancy Capgemini said. The US-China trade spat was partly the blame, as well as fears that global central banks were about to raise interest rates.

READ MORE: The world’s richest people live in the US, Japan, Germany, and China

The biggest declines came in Asia, where millionaires lost $1 trillion. Chinese millionaires were the worst hit, accounting for over $500 billion lost.

“Chinese markets lost more than $2.5 trillion in market capitalization due to uncertainties in US-China relations and pressure on the yuan,” Capgemini said.

A separate report published earlier this year said China lost 161 billionaires in 2018 due to falling Chinese stock prices.

The UK’s richest also saw a “significant” fall in their wealth, which collectively fell by 6%.

“The UK economy grew by only slightly more than 1% in 2018, its lowest since 2012,” the report said. “Political paralysis triggered by Brexit stirred market uncertainty, with key sectors such as manufacturing and construction sectors seeing a decline.”

The report follows a similar conclusion from Forbes magazine, which chronicles the world’s wealthiest. Forbes said in March that 2018 saw the number of billionaires and their total wealth decline for only the second time in a decade.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world according to Forbes, with a net worth of $100 billion.

Capgemini’s report was based on a survey of 2,500 millionaires globally.

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Oscar Williams-Grut covers banking, fintech, and finance for Yahoo Finance UK. Follow him on Twitter at @OscarWGrut.

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