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Sat 23 Nov 2019 01:04 AM

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UAE billionaire wealth falls more than $4bn to under $20bn

UBS and PwC Billionaires Insights report reveals there were seven billionaires in the UAe in 2018, unchanged from previous year

UAE billionaire wealth falls more than $4bn to under $20bn

The strong dollar and volatile equity markets saw billionaire wealth decrease to $8.5 trillion after five years of growth. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

The number of billionaires living in the UAE remained unchanged in 2018 compared to the previous year, a new report has revealed.

In the UAE, there were seven billionaires last year and their total wealth decreased from $24 billion to $19.6 billion, according to annual UBS and PwC Billionaires Insights report.

It also revealed that billionaires’ wealth globally dipped by $388 billion in 2018, following five years of growth. The strong dollar and volatile equity markets saw billionaire wealth decrease to $8.5 trillion after five years of growth.

Asia’s billionaires saw a correction following five years of significant growth, during which their wealth almost quadrupled.

By contrast, the Americas saw a slight wealth increase this year, led by prominent US tech billionaires. Despite slowing growth last year, billionaire wealth is over a third higher (34.5 percent) than five years earlier, amounting to an increase of $2.2 trillion.

Tech billionaires saw their wealth increase more than any other sector last year, fuelled by existing businesses and disruptive new market entrants.

The number of female billionaires has grown by 46 percent in five years.

Josef Stadler, head of Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, said: “The billionaire boom of the past five years has now undergone a natural correction. The stronger dollar, combined with greater uncertainty in equity markets amidst a tough geopolitical environment, has created the conditions for this dip.

“Nevertheless, it’s clear that billionaire businesses continue to thrive. Billionaires are creating and steering businesses that consistently outperform equity markets. This business acumen has also translated into their philanthropy, as billionaires seek new ways to engineer far-reaching environmental and social change. This ‘Billionaire Effect’ is alive and well across the world – and shows little sign of slowing.”

Ali Janoudi, head, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa at UBS Global Wealth Management, added: "The study shows that over two thirds of billionaires in emerging markets Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as in the more established countries Poland and Cyprus, are self-made, which is encouraging as it highlights just how much economic opportunity and entrepreneurial drive we can find in these regions."

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