Billionaires only got wealthier during the pandemic

The fortunes of US billionaires rose 15 percent in the two months since the coronavirus pandemic hit, a study found, with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg seeing massive gains.

The more than 600 billionaires in the United States became even richer as tech stocks rose during virus lockdowns, an analysis of data by two think-tanks published Thursday said.

Between March 18 and May 19, their total net worth increased by $434 billion, while the coronavirus pandemic caused job losses and economic agony for millions worldwide.

Bezos' wealth grew over 30% to $147.6 billion, while Zuckerberg's fortune leapt by more than 45% to $80 billion, according to the research by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies' Program for Inequality. The analysis was based on data from Forbes billionaires list.

Microsoft's Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett saw comparatively paltry gains of 8.2% and 0.8%, respectively, according to the report.

Amazon and Facebook stocks have surged following new program announcements that pushed their businesses ahead at a time when many consumers are stuck at home.

Job losses in the US have passed 36.8 million since business shutdowns began in mid-March to stop the spread of the deadly new disease.

Other data have shown a collapse in housing sales and a decline in manufacturing, as officials debate what additional steps will be needed to rescue the beleaguered economy.

Covid-19 has killed at least 94 700 people in the US where more than 1.5 million infections have been confirmed, according to an AFP tally.

ZAR/USD
17.04
(-0.38)
ZAR/GBP
21.81
(-0.11)
ZAR/EUR
19.90
(-0.12)
ZAR/AUD
12.03
(-0.12)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-1.12)
Gold
1860.65
(+0.03)
Silver
22.87
(+0.11)
Platinum
844.51
(+0.50)
Brent Crude
42.23
(-0.12)
Palladium
2207.00
(+0.59)
All Share
53587.11
(-1.22)
Top 40
49547.74
(-1.16)
Financial 15
9401.28
(-1.95)
Industrial 25
72949.70
(-1.72)
Resource 10
53453.42
(-0.10)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 1368 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
73% - 8860 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
16% - 1959 votes
Vote