World’s richest lose $20bn in 2015 as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim take a hit

The biggest loser was Carlos Slim, whose Mexican telecommunications company American Movil declined 25 per cent in 2015

Some of the world’s richest have ended the year just a little bit poorer according to Bloomberg, which said 2015 was the first year its wealth index had declined since 2012.

The 400 richest men in the world lost $19 billion in 2015 because of the falling oil price and the slowing Chinese economy, which hit stocks, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The biggest loser was Carlos Slim, whose Mexican telecommunications company American Movil declined 25 per cent in 2015. Slim fell to fifth place after regulatory efforts to break apart his business cost him $20 billion.

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Warren Buffett, the world’s third richest person, lost $11.3 billion as his company Berkshire Hathaway made a loss for the first time since 2011.

Shares in Berkshire Hathaway were down 11 per cent two days before the end of the trading year. Buffett too has been hit by oil. Although it doesn’t deal directly in the black stuff, it is heavily invested in transport and manufacturing.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, lost $3 billion during the year. Another tech billionaire, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, was the biggest gainer of the year. He nearly doubled his fortune to $59 billion, pushing him to fourth place on the index.

The richest person in Europe, Spain’s Amancio Ortega, overtook Carlos Slim and Warren Buffett this year, gaining $12.1 billion. Ortega owns 59 per cent of Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer and the parent company of Zara.

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