NEW YORK • Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once again topped the Forbes magazine list of the world's billionaires - now at more than 2,000 - while US President Donald Trump slipped more than 200 spots, the magazine said on Monday.
Mr Gates, whose wealth is estimated at US$86 billion (S$120 billion), led the list for the fourth straight year and has been ranked as the richest person in the world for 18 of the past 23 years.
Among the top 10 billionaires, a group heavily dominated by Americans, many from the technology sector, Mr Gates was followed by Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett, whose wealth was estimated at US$75.6 billion, a US$14.8 billion jump from the figure in last year's list, despite his pledge to give away 99 per cent of his wealth.
Mr Trump's net worth dropped to a mere US$3.5 billion, or roughly a third of what he claimed during his presidential campaign, according to the Forbes list. He fell to No. 544 on the magazine's 31st annual list, largely because of the slumping New York real estate market's impact on his holdings.
"Booming stock markets, higher commodity prices and plain old- fashioned entrepreneurship helped make this a record year in terms of wealth creation around the globe," said Forbes editors Luisa Kroll and Kerry Dolan.
Others in the top 10 included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who rose to No. 3 with the biggest gain of anyone on the planet, a US$27.6 billion increase to his fortune of US$72.8 billion. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was No. 5 and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison was No. 7.
There are 183 tech billionaires in all with a combined US$1 trillion in wealth, Forbes said. The global population of billionaires rose 13 per cent from last year to a record 2,043.
The United States had the most billionaires with 565, a product of the swelling value of the American stock market since Mr Trump's election. China was second with 319 billionaires, and Germany was third with 114.