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Number of S'pore billionaires falls by 5 in 2018, combined wealth drops 8.8%

SINGAPORE'S billionaire population declined 11.4 per cent to 39 in 2018 from 44 in 2017, largely driven by negative equity market performance, according to research firm Wealth-X's Billionaire Census 2019.

Singapore's ultra rich shed 8.8 per cent of their wealth in the process as the city-state kept its 15th position in the country rankings for the most number of billionaires. Singapore billionaires' combined wealth stood at US$84 billion in 2018.

Across Asia-Pacific, the billionaire population declined 13.4 per cent, with combined wealth down by 8.7 per cent.

The most notable declines came from China, India and Singapore. China's billionaire population declined by 15.7 per cent, while India's declined by 21.2 per cent.

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In contrast to the buoyant wealth gains enjoyed in 2017, when almost every major asset class delivered strong returns, Wealth-X said 2018 proved more challenging for the global billionaire class. The total number of billionaires declined by 5.4 per cent to 2,604 individuals, only the second annual fall since the 2008 financial crash.

It added that against a backdrop of heightened market volatility, global trade tensions and a slowdown in economic growth, the combined wealth of the world's billionaires dropped by 7 per cent to US$8.6 trillion.