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More and more people are becoming billionaires: UBS

Scott Gamm

UBS and PwC are out with data about the world’s richest people: billionaires. 

They say 589 people become billionaires from 2013 to 2018, pushing the total population to 2,101. 

“It’s clear that billionaire businesses continue to thrive,” said Josef Stadler, head of ultra-high-net worth at UBS Global Wealth Management. “Billionaires are creating and steering businesses that consistently outperform equity markets.”

The number of female billionaires is up 46% during this time to 233 from 160, outpacing the 39% rise in the number of male billionaires, the report said. 

Billionaire privacy 

Given the rise of income inequality and the growing popularity in some political circles of adding extra taxes to the world’s richest people, some billionaires prefer to stay under the radar.

“I definitely am seeing a trend that billionaires or other ultra high net worth individuals value their privacy,” said Brittany Saks, global leader of PwC’s private wealth and ultra high net worth individual practice, adding that not all billionaires want to end up on a highly publicized magazine list tracking the estimated net worths of the rich. “They want to accomplish the goals that they’ve set out for their families or their businesses, but they’re not looking for notoriety along with it.”

Corporate business jet setting on ramp with door open and sun setting in the background.

Billionaires in China

Last year was a turbulent year for billionaires in China, with their net worth dropping by 12.3% in U.S. dollars in 2018, according to the report. 

“A depreciation in the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar (by around 6%) accounts for roughly half of the decline, as currency markets fretted about the possible impact of deglobalization,” the report said. 

The decline also comes as U.S.-China trade tensions reached fever pitch in 2018 and affected global stock markets. 

In Greater China, UBS said there were 814 billionaires in 2017 and just 754 in 2018, a decline of more than 7%.

Scott Gamm is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @ScottGamm.

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