Jul 1, 2022 - Economy

Richest billionaires lost $1.4 trillion in worst half-year ever

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The world's 500 richest billionaires lost $1.4 trillion in the first half of 2022, the steepest six-month drop ever for the ultra rich, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The losses come as the S&P 500 Index suffered its worst first half of the year since 1970, per Barron's.

By the numbers: The decline is a sharp contrast from the previous two years, when the fortunes of the world's richest people swelled amid government stimulus measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, per Bloomberg.

  • Jeff Bezos lost about $63 billion.
  • Mark Zuckerberg's net worth was cut in half, down to $60 billion.
  • Elon Musk's fortune plunged by almost $62 billion.
  • Changpeng Zhao, a crypto pioneer, watched his $96 billion fortune tumble by close to $80 billion this year due to the turmoil over crypto, per Bloomberg.

Yes, but: Many of these billionaires are still supremely wealthy. Musk still has the biggest fortune on the planet, at $208.5 billion, while Bezos is second with a $129.6 billion net worth, per Bloomberg.

The big picture: It's a bad year to be really rich, Axios' Felix Salmon writes.

  • Zuckerberg, Zhao, Musk and Bezos lost $50 billion each by May alone.
  • Not to mention Russian oligarchs, who saw their fortunes frozen, and crypto investors watched their wealth drop, too.
  • "Those of us who work for a living are broadly fine," Felix writes. "Those who don't need to, on the other hand, are feeling a bit of a pinch."
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