Coronavirus impact: Jeff Bezos and top 10 billionaires lose record wealth in a day

With coronavirus gripping the world, businesses are taking a hit. The world's richest people saw a record single-day drop in their wealth as stock markets tumbled.

The impact of coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation has declared a global health emergency, is being felt far and wide — from Wuhan to Washington and beyond.

On Monday, the world's 500 wealthiest people shed a cumulative $139 billion off their net worth as markets battled fears of coronavirus impact on the global economy.

The top 10 billionaires shed close to $30 billion in a day, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Bernard Arnault, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and others lost several billions of dollars as their company stocks tumbled.

In fact, it was the biggest single-day drop since October 2016, when the Bloomberg Billionaires Index started tracking the wealth of the richest.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

The biggest losers were Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (who ranks #1 on the index) and luxury-goods company LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault (ranked #3), each losing more than $4.8 billion.

LVMH was particularly affected because China is among its top markets. In fact, the country accounts for nearly 40 percent of all luxury goods sales in the world.

Bill Gates, who's ranked #2 in the index, lost about $2.1 billion, with his net worth now at $114 billion. Bezos, meanwhile, continues to hold the tag of the world's richest with a fortune of $121 billion.

Amancio Ortega, CEO of Inditex SA (which owns lifestyle brand Zara), lost $4 billion. Mark Zuckerberg took a hit of $3.4 billion as Facebook stocks declined 4.4 percent.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who's the sole Indian in the top 15, lost $903 million. His wealth now stands at $54.5 billion.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The maximum sectoral impact is being felt on travel because it gets huge business directly from China, which has already reported 60,000 cases of coronavirus.

Stocks of cruise-line operators such as Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line dropped the most at nine percent, according to Bloomberg.

Despite the obvious concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, a few businessmen and market analysts hold a contrarian view.

Earlier in February, Ray Dalio, the Founder of Bridgewater (world's largest hedge fund) said these concerns were "exaggerated" and he expects them to be impermanent.

"Investor concerns over the pandemic probably had a bit of an exaggerated effect on the pricing of assets because of the temporary nature of that, so I would expect more of a rebound," he stated.

(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)


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