Bloomberg News

World’s Richest Gain $25 Billion as Zong Now Top in China

September 07, 2012

The 40 richest people on the planet added $25.3 billion to their collective net worth this week as global equities soared.

One of the biggest gainers was Amancio Ortega, who gained $1.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Shares of Inditex SA (ITX), the world’s largest clothing retailer, rose 0.81 percent during the week, pushing the 76-year-old Spaniard’s fortune to $47.7 billion -- $1.3 billion ahead of Warren Buffett.

The increases came after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi outlined an unlimited bond-purchase program to reduce interest rates for struggling nations and fight speculation of a breakup of the euro. In the U.S., payrolls rose less than projected in August while the unemployment rate was unexpectedly driven down by Americans leaving the labor force, boosting the odds of additional Federal Reserve easing.

“Non-farm payroll was disappointing across the board. There were fewer jobs created than anticipated along with a decrease in the labor force participation rate,” said James Gaul, a portfolio manager at Boston Advisors LLC, which oversees about $2.2 billion in assets. “You can boil this week down to government central banking activity buoying asset prices.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rallied 2.23 percent during the week to close at 1437.92 in New York, its best level since January 2008. The index has climbed 12.5 percent since June 1. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 2.28 percent, closing at 272.30.

Zong Rises

Zong Qinghou, head of China’s third-largest beverage maker, is the country’s richest man. The 66-year-old soda and juice tycoon owns more than 80 percent of closely held Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co., the company’s spokesman Shan Qining said in an interview on Sept. 3. The newly disclosed stake, which is more than double previous estimates, raised Zong’s fortune to $22.2 billion.

Carlos Slim, 72, remains the world’s richest person with a net worth of $74.3 billion. Arturo Elias, a spokesman for Slim, said Thursday that the Mexican billionaire plans to remain a large investor in Saks Inc. (SKS:US) after reducing his stake in the company because the shares were trading at a “good” price.

Bill Gates, 56, is $10.4 billion behind Slim. Shares of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US), the world’s biggest software maker, inched up 0.42 percent after the company announced it planned to increase the number of employees in China by 22 percent.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S.

To contact the reporter on this story: Max Raskin in New York at mraskin5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew G. Miller at mmiller144@bloomberg.net


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