The wealth of the world’s billionaires reached record heights this year despite the global coronavirus crisis, led by tech, health and industry “innovators and disruptors” like Elon Musk, said a report published Wednesday.
By the end of July, the cumulative wealth of billionaires stood at around $10.2 trillion, according to a study by Swiss bank UBS and accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.
That exceeded the previous peak of $8.9 trillion recorded in 2017.
The annual inventory of the super-rich’s fortunes identified 2,189 dollar billionaires at the end of July — 31 more than in 2017.
The report noted that the coronavirus crisis accelerated a trend in this select club that is seeing “innovators and disruptors” in the technology, healthcare and industry sectors edge out those in more traditional areas like entertainment or real estate.
But it gave rise to some sharp criticism at a time of pandemic-led economic hardship.
“Billionaires doing very nicely out of the #Covid_19 pandemic, ordinary people left with debt, businesses collapsing, unemployment rocketing, people suffering and making huge sacrifices whilst the worlds richest laugh all the way to the bank!,” tweeted Angela Rayner, deputy leader of Britain’s Labour Party.
The report nevertheless said billionaires had “given more than ever before in a space of a few months.”
According to the report, the pandemic initially had an impact on the world’s billionaires.
Their wealth fell 6.6 percent in February and March as the world feared for economic growth.
A stock market crash in March saw some tumble out of the billionaires’ club, before a sharp rebound in technology and health stocks began.
Soon, their wealth had bounced back by 27.5 percent between April and the end of July.
“Fortunes are polarising as business innovators and