The American national business magazine, Forbes, compiled and published the list of billionaires including the world’s wealthiest people as of the first quarter 2009, based on each person’s total net worth.
Bad news for rich people: last year there were 1,125 billionaires, but this year there are just 793 people rich enough to make the list that means a 30% decline from a year ago.
The world’s richest are also a lot poorer. Their collective net worth is $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from a year ago. Their average net worth fell 23% to $3 billion.
“Billionaire Bust”, is the red title on the cover of this month’s Forbes special issue that demonstrated how hard the crisis had struck on the richest people on the planet.
The 2009 list represents citizens from 53 countries and regions. Americans once again dominate the super rich, occupying half of the top 20 spots, up from only four last year.
Bill Gates regained his title as the world’s richest man, but lost $18 billion.
Warren Buffett, last year’s n.1, gained the position n.2 but saw his fortune decline $25 billion. Mexican Telecom titan Carlos Slim HelÃº also lost $25 billion and dropped one spot to n.3.
The biggest loser in the world this year, by dollars, was last year’s biggest gainer. India’s Anil Ambani lost $32 billion, 76% of his fortune, as shares of his Reliance Communications, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital all collapsed.
Another 29 Indians lost their billionaire status entirely as India’s stock market tumbled 44% in the past year and the Indian rupee depreciated 18% against the dollar. It is no longer the top spot in Asia for billionaires, ceding that title to China, which has 28.
Russia became the epicenter of the world’s commodities bust, dropping 55 billionaires–two-thirds of its 2008 crop. Among them: Dmitry Pumpyansky, an industrialist from the resource-rich Ural mountain region, who lost $5 billion as shares of his pipe producer, TMK, sank 84%. Also gone is Vasily Anisimov, father of Moscow’s Paris Hilton, Anna Anisimova, who lost $3.2 billion as the value of his Metalloinvest Holding, one of Russia’s largest ore mining and processing firms, fell along with his real estate holdings.