Gina Rinehart: World’s richest woman might not be rich all that much longer
Her personal fortune now stands at A$29.2bn (£18.2bn) placing her at the top of BRW magazine’s Rich 200 list for a second consecutive year.
That also signals Ms Rinehart has overtaken Wal-Mart heiress Christy Walton, estimated to have a net worth of US$25.3bn (£16.1bn), taking her title as the richest woman in the world.
Still more eye-popping is the speed of her ascent. Rinehart’s wealth derives from Hancock Prospecting, the iron ore empire she inherited from her father, but she certainly has grown what she started off with.
That’s certainly a pretty decent chunk of change there. The big question though is how long is that going to last?
For, you see, the iron ore price is essentially driven by the Chinese economy. Over here in the rich world we tend not to buy much iron ore any more. For we’ve got lots of iron around, already there in the things we’ve already built. So we tend to get much of our new iron and steel from melting down the old stuff. You know, recycling, which is good.
However China, where they’re building an industrial society for the first time, doesn’t have that. Thus they’re sucking in hte iron ore to make the stuff for the first time. And thus the iron pre price depends upon the growth of the Chinese economy.
Which is just about to suffer a property slump to put Spain and Ireland to shame.
“There is a real possibility that Rinehart will become not just the richest woman in the world but the richest person in the world.”
Carlos Slim is currently worth perhaps $66 billion. I somehow doubt that’s going to happen: whether it does or not depends almost entirely on the Chinese property market.