WASHINGTON • The world's richest person is getting richer, even in a pandemic, and perhaps because of it.
With consumers stuck at home, they are relying on Mr Jeff Bezos' Amazon.com more than ever.
The retailer's stock climbed 5.3 per cent to a record on Tuesday, lifting the founder's net worth by US$6.4 billion (S$9 billion) on Tuesday, according to Forbes’ estimates. to US$138.5 billion.
Mr Bezos and many of his wealthy peers in technology, private equity and elsewhere are doing just fine, helped by unprecedented stimulus efforts by governments and central bankers.
While the combined net worth of the world's 500 richest people has dropped US$553 billion this year, it has surged 20 per cent from its low on March 23, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
"The wealth gap, it's only going to get wider with what's going on now," said Miller Tabak + Co chief market strategist Matt Maley.
There have been massive losers among the moneyed set. Many in the oil and gas industry have been hammered by the collapse in crude prices, for example. But there have also been remarkable gains.
Leading the group is Mr Bezos, who has added almost US$24 billion to his fortune this year, as well as Ms MacKenzie Bezos, who was left with a 4 per cent stake in Amazon as part of the couple's recent divorce. Her net worth has climbed US$8.2 billion to US$45.3 billion.
The fortune of Zoom Video Communications founder Eric Yuan has more than doubled to US$7.4 billion, as demand for its teleconferencing service exploded in the wake of the pandemic-driven lockdown.