Wealth of world’s billionaires surges past $7 trillion

The combined net worth of the world’s billionaires has reached a new high in 2015 of $7.05 trillion, according to the latest compilation published by Forbes magazine on Monday.

There are a record 1,826 billionaires, each with an average wealth of $3.8 billion. Relative to last year, the world’s billionaires have increased their combined wealth by more than 10 percent, from $6.4 trillion in 2014, while the total number of billionaires has grown by 11 percent.

In introducing its report, Forbes noted the striking disconnect between the continued surge in the wealth of the world’s ultra-rich and the state of the world economy. “Despite plunging oil prices and a weakened euro, the ranks of the world’s wealthiest defied global economic turmoil and expanded once again,” the magazine commented.

This growth in the wealth of billionaires is bound up with the continued rise in global equity markets. The FTSE All-World Index surged to record highs last month, and US markets have continued to break records. Stock ownership is overwhelmingly concentrated in the hands of the wealthy, who have been the prime beneficiaries of “quantitative easing,” record low interest rates and other government policies.

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