India’s business magnate Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday (March 10) lost his position of being Asia’s richest man to China’s top industrialist Jack Ma after the oil prices plunged the most in 29 years on Monday (March 9) along with a collapse of the global stocks.
The fast-spreading novel coronavirus is not only taking a toll on the daily lives of people but on Monday also wiped out $5.8 billion from Ambani’s net worth, declining him to be called the second on the list of the continent’s richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Ma, who lost his top ranking in mid-2018, jumped back to take the highest position with a $44.5 billion net worth, about $2.6 billion more than Ambani.
Meanwhile, a shadow of uncertainty casts over Ambani’s pledge to cut net debt of Reliance Industries Ltd. to zero from about $21 billion as of last March, by early 2021 after oil plunged over 20 per cent as top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia launched a price war in response to a failure by leading producers to strike a deal to support energy markets.
The steep decline comes in the backdrop of the novel coronavirus taking over the world and giving rise to the first decline in demand in more than a decade.
The Indian billionaire’s plan consists of a proposal to sell stake in the group’s oil and petrochemicals division to Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest crude producer, as reported by Bloomberg News.
What came as a silver lining for the tech giant Alibaba, was that even as the COVID-19 did minimal damage to its businesses, it was not affective enough due to the increased demand for its cloud computing services and mobile apps.
The shares of Reliance Industries plunged 12% on Monday, recorded to be the most since 2009, extending this year’s decline to 26%. Alibaba’s American depositary receipts have dropped 6.8% so far in 2020, reported Bloomberg.
The market crash on Monday shocked several billionaires around the world as the S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average each slipped more than 7.5%, the most since the 2008 financial crisis, threatening to end the longest bull market in history.
However, it was worse for those industrialists whose fortunes were attached with oil. Wildcatter Harold Hamm’s fortune was cut almost in half to $2.4 billion and fellow oil magnate Jeff Hildebrand lost $3 billion, bumping both from Bloomberg’s 500-member wealth ranking.