The richest man in the world, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has increased his wealth by a staggering $56.7 billion (£45.2bn) in 2020.
It comes as shares in the online global retailer surged by 4.4% to a record high of $2,878.70 Wednesday.
Bezos fortune now stands at an eye-watering $171.6 billion (£137.22 billion), well in excess of Bezos previous $167.7 billion record from September 2018, Bloomberg reports.
His soaring wealth comes as the world faces the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, hastened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon has reported a $75.5 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2020 alone as people take to online shopping as many shops have been shut.
Bezos, 56, started Amazon in his garage in 1994 and still owns 11% of the company’s stock which comprises the bulk of his staggering wealth.
The next richest billionaires are Microsoft’s Bill Gates, with $114 billion and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg with $90.2 billion, who have also seen their wealth surge during the global health crisis as online activity surged during May.
In response Amazon stepped up operations with 75,000 extra staff, 34m gloves, and the leasing of 12 new cargo planes bringing its fleet to 82.
American billionaires have seen profits increase by hundreds of billions this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic causing economic chaos and job losses around the world.
America has almost 800 billionaires, a record high and a quarter of the world’s mega rich.
The combined wealth of billionaires has now tipped $3.5 trillion (£2.8 trillion) – an increase of 19 per cent since the beginning of lockdowns on 18 March.
Financial experts are now warning of a greater gulf between rich and poor, with the recovery of the stock market as a result of billionaires profiting causing concern.
Stocks across the globe rose on Wednesday following data pointing to a recovery in manufacturing and on bets for a COVID-19 vaccine, while the risk-on mood pushed the US dollar lower.