Coronavirus impact: Mukesh Ambani no longer Asia's richest man; Jeff Bezos loses $7B in a day

The world's 500 richest people lost a combined $239 billion in a day as global stock markets crashed amid coronavirus concerns.
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Reliance Industries lost nearly a third of its market valuation as oil stocks crashed globally on Monday in what is being seen as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

As a result, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani lost 'Asia's richest man' tag after his wealth plunged $5.8 billion in a single day.

Ambani, now at #2, is trailing Alibaba founder Jack Ma, whose fortune is worth $44.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (a dynamic year-to-date ranking of the world's 500 richest people).

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani

Ambani though continues to be India's richest man with a fortune of $41.8 billion, even as his energy-to-telecom empire shed 26 percent in value since the start of the year.  In fact, billionaires across the world in the energy sector have been among the worst hit.

Other big losers of Monday included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who shed $7 billion before recovering to $5.6 billion, and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, who lost $5.3 billion. Bezos, in fact, has lost $18 billion in a month.

He, however, continues to be the world's richest man with a fortune of $112 billion. Closing in on him is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose net worth now stands at $106 billion after he lost $5.1 billion.

Overall, the world's 500 richest people lost $239 billion in a day. This is the biggest single-day plunge in wealth since the index started tracking billionaires in October 2016.

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

In 2020 alone, "more than half-trillion dollars has been erased from the combined fortunes of the top 500," according to Bloomberg.

Other top losers were luxury goods-maker LVMH founder Bernard Arnault, who lost nearly $4.5 billion overnight.

In fact, Arnault has been one of the worst-hit since the coronavirus scare began, with LVMH stocks sliding 24 percent in just two months. This is because of the company's large dependence on China, which is one of its top export markets and also the epicenter of the outbreak.

While concerns around the new coronavirus (officially known as COVID-19) mount, a few billionaires have played down the scare. Tesla CEO Elon Musk dubbed it an overreaction.

"The coronavirus panic is dumb," he tweeted on Friday. Interestingly, Musk himself has lost $6.75 billion in the past two weeks as Tesla shares continued to fall.

(Edited by Kanishk Singh)


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