NEW YORK • The world's five richest people lost US$8.7 billion (S$12.4 billion) on Monday in a global stock sell-off sparked by weak factory data in China and a flare-up in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos led decliners on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in the first trading day this year, losing US$3.7 billion as the world's largest online retailer fell 5.8 per cent. His net worth is now US$56 billion.
Spain's Mr Amancio Ortega dropped US$2.5 billion to US$70.4 billion as his Inditex, the biggest fashion retailer, fell 3.5 per cent.
Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett, Mexico's telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the richest person on the planet, lost a combined US$2.5 billion.
The biggest gainer was activist investor Carl Icahn, whose net worth climbed US$210.4 million to US$20.1 billion.
The Bloomberg index is a daily ranking of the world's 400 richest people, who lost a combined US$82.4 billion for the day.
Last month, Bloomberg had announced its 2015 index, which had also showed some of the world's richest people getting a bit poorer, shedding billions in stock values as a result of negative sentiments among investors over falling commodities prices and signs of a slower-growing China.
That list had found Mr Slim to be the biggest loser on the index, losing almost US$20 billion as regulators ratcheted up efforts to break apart the business that controls the majority of Mexico's landlines and mobile phones.
Mr Buffett and Mr Gates lost US$11.3 billion and US$3 billion respectively last year, while the fortunes of Mr Ortega and Mr Bezos leapt by US$12.1 billion and US$31 billion respectively. Mr Bezos was the winner in that list.