World’s billionaires get even richer during the coronavirus pandemic

The world’s super-rich increased their combined wealth by a quarter during the coronavirus crisis, PwC and UBS have revealed. Health care billionaires had a particularly successful few months.

The combined wealth of the world’s super-rich reached a new peak during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published by the consulting firm PwC and the Swiss bank UBC on Wednesday.

The more than 2,000 billionaires around the world managed to amass fortunes totaling around $10.2 trillion (€8.69 trillion) by July, surpassing the previous record of $8.9 trillion reached in 2017.

The number of people with assets valuing $1 billion or more increased from 2,158 in 2017 to 2,189 in July 2020.

Booms in health care and technology

A sharp V-shaped stock market recovery enabled the world’s super-rich to recuperate their losses at the beginning of the crisis and then even increase their wealth. Between April and July, total billionaire wealth increased by 27.5%, up from $8 trillion. Watch video 02:04

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Across sectors, billionaires saw their fortunes rise by double digits, with those in technology, health care and industrial sectors leading the pack.

The study found that those billionaires involved in health care saw their total wealth increase by 50.3% to $658.6 billion having been “boosted by a new age of drug discovery and innovations in diagnostics and medical technology, as well as latterly COVID-19 treatments and equipment.”

According to published figures, just over 200 of the 2,189 billionaires publicly donated a total of $7.2 billion to help combat the medical crisis caused by COVID-19, as well as the social and economic fallout the virus caused.

Healthcare worker carrying tubes for COVID-19 test

Success for German billionaires

German billionaires amassed the third-highest fortune by July with a combined wealth of $594.9 billion, behind the United States and China. This represented an increase in the wealth of Germany’s super-rich of 175% since 2009.

UBS and PwC analyzed data from 2,189 billionaires from 43 countries and interviewed 60 individual billionaires, taking into account cash, real estate and luxury goods as well as stocks and corporate assets in order to determine the wealth of the global super-rich.

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