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Billionaires are ending 2016 with $237 billion more than they started the year with. (Photo: Dean Chahim/flickr/cc)

2016 Was Totally Awesome! (For Billionaires)

Billionaires like fracking pioneer Harold Hamm saw big gains this year

Andrea Germanos

The world's wealthiest can celebrate 2016 as a banner year.

That's according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bloomberg writes Wednesday that

the biggest fortunes on the planet whipsawed through $4.8 trillion of daily net worth gains and losses during the year, rising 5.7 percent to $4.4 trillion by the close of trading Dec. 27, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

That translates to $237 billion more for the uber-wealthy than they started the year with, according to the index's rankings.

Notching the biggest gain was American investor Warren Buffett, who boosted his wealth $11.8 billion over the year. A vocal backer of Hilary Clinton during the presidential campaign, the Berkshire Hathaway head "has done just fine so far with a Donald Trump victory," as CNBC wrote last month. 

Bloomberg notes that he "reclaimed his spot as the world's second-richest person two days after Trump's victory ignited a year-end rally that pushed Buffett's wealth up 19 percent for the year to $74.1 billion." In fact, Bloomberg adds,

U.S. billionaires—including Buffett— favored Trump's rival Hillary Clinton. Still, they profited from his victory when they added $77 billion to their fortunes in the post-election rally fueled by expectations that regulations would ease and American industry would benefit.

Also claiming one of the top five biggest gains of the year is fracking tycoon and Trump energy advisor Harold Hamm. It is billionaires in his sector of energy, mining, and metals that are "best-performing category on the ranking," Bloomberg notes.

"Hamm's fortune," Bloomberg continues, "was propelled by a strengthening oil price and expectations a Trump administration will slash fossil-fuel regulations. Hamm added $8.4 billion to more than double his fortune to $15.3 billion."

The new rankings come as reports show inequality in the U.S. and across the globe widening.

Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus declared this month that the global wealth gap is "a ticking time bomb and a great danger to the world," yet the issue has failed to garner significant corporate media attention 

Meanwhile, Trump, who will preside over the possibly richest cabinet ever, has proposed a tax plan that would benefit the wealthiest households. 


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