Gates regains Forbes rich list top spot

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has found himself back at the top of Forbes magazine's list of the richest billionaires as the worldwide economic downturn takes its effect on the wealth of many of the world's richest people.

332 people have been wiped off the list completely after their fortunes have fallen below the $1 billion mark, according to BBC News, leaving just 793 total places. One of those booted off the list, also losing the title of world's youngest billionaire, is the founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg.

Despite having $18 billion wiped off the value of his fortune, Bill Gates tops the list with a wealth of $40 billion whilst last year's number one - investor Warren Buffet - lost $25 billion, reducing his fortune to $37 billion. Warren Buffet managed only 1 year in the top spot after ending Bill Gates' 13 year reign at the head of the list last year. The fall of the stock market has taken its toll on him and many others though, with Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway firm loosing 50% of its share value over the past year.

The net worth of the billionaires in the list is now $2.4 trillion compared to $4.4 trillion last year, with only 44 people on the list having increased their wealth in the past 12 months and 656 people having declining fortunes. The top 20, half of who are now US citizens, total a fortune of $14 billion which is down from $21 billion last year.

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