Investors were rocked on Monday when markets crashed around the world on new developments in the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Even the wealthiest had something to complain about after U.S. markets plunged about 3%.
The 500 richest people from the world’s collective net worth sank by 2.1%, or $117 billion, on the worst trading day of 2019, according to Bloomberg. Taking it one step further, 21 people on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index lost at least $1 billion on Monday. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos led the pack after losing $3.4 billion of his $110 billion fortune. He is still safely the richest man on the planet.
The steep losses were triggered by ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China as the world’s two largest economies trade blows while attempting to negotiate a new trade deal. The markets started to sink on Thursday when U.S. President Donald Trump announced a surprise salvo of new tariffs of 10% on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. China reacted to the threat on Monday by letting its currency, the yuan, fall to a politically sensitive level of 7.0 yuan per dollar.
China’s reaction sent a wave of sell-offs across global markets that made its way to the U.S., where major indexes fell between 2.9% and 3.5%.
The losses were kind of a shock to the uber-rich investors who had experienced healthy gains since the start of the year. But even after taking this massive hit, the 500 individuals on Bloomberg’s index still control about $5.4 trillion of wealth. That’s up 11% from Jan. 1 of this year.
It looks like investors are going to be making back a good chunk of those losses as well. Shares were up across the board on Tuesday after the U.S. called China a “currency manipulator,” and Beijing stabilized the yuan to avoid further devaluation.
By 2 p.m. Tuesday, The Dow Jones Industrial Average had regained 152 points, or 0.6%, the S&P 500 was up 231 points, or 0.7%, and the Nasdaq was up 67 points, or 0.9%.