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Billionaires’ wealth falls for the first time in a decade

ZURICH, Switzerland – The world’s richest people became a little less well off last year, according to a report by UBS and PwC, as geopolitical turmoil and volatile equity markets reduced the wealth of billionaires for the first time in a decade.

Billionaires’ wealth fell by US$388 billion (S$527 billion) globally to US$8.539 trillion, the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report found, with a particularly sharp decline in Greater China – the second-biggest home for billionaires after the United States – and the Asia-Pacific region more broadly.

Private banks including the world’s largest wealth manager UBS have felt the effects of US-China trade tensions and global political uncertainties, as clients last year shied away from trading and taking on debt in favour of hoarding more cash.

“Billionaire wealth dipped in 2018 for the first time since 2008 because of geopolitics,” UBS’ head of ultra-high net worth clients, Mr Josef Stadler, said in the report published on Friday (Nov 8).

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