A top-five list of the world’s richest billionaires no longer features a single European.
According to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, French luxury magnate Bernard Arnault late last week slipped by two places to 7th spot in the ranking of the world’s wealthiest, meaning that the top five spots are now occupied by four Americans and a Mexican.
In sixth place is Armancio Ortega, the Spanish tycoon best known for co-founding Inditex, which is the parent company of brands such as Zara and Massimo Dutti. He now has a net worth of around $65.9bn (£47.5bn), putting him just ahead of Mr Arnault’s $65.8bn. The Frenchman is best known for being the chief executive officer of luxury goods company LVMH.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos continues to dominate the ranking by far, with an estimated wealth of just over $131bn. In the early 1990s, Mr Bezos founded what later became the e-commerce behemoth. Shares in Amazon surged more than 50 per cent during 2017 alone, bolstered by a series of product and service launches, helping Mr Bezos grow his wealth by an estimated $34.7bn last year.
In October Mr Bezos leapfrogged Bill Gates to take the top spot in the Bloomberg ranking. The Microsoft co-founder, who has been a steady fixture at the top of the list for years, is still in second place with a net worth just short of $93bn. The veteran financier Warren Buffett is in third place, at $91.4bn, followed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in fourth spot at $75.6bn.
The only non-American in the top five is Carlos Slim, with a net wealth of just under $67bn. Mr Slim controls a host Mexican companies across sectors including telecom, industrials, healthcare, transport, real estate, media, energy and financial services.
According to Bloomberg, Americans now make up 40 per cent of the Billionaire’s Index by wealth, followed by Asia at a quarter and Europe at 21 per cent. Seven of the 10 richest people on the planet are Americans.