Bill Gates has regained the title of the world's richest person on an index compiled by US financial services firm Bloomberg. The Microsoft founder edges Mexico's telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim into second place.
Bill Gates' fortune was valued at $72.7 billion (56.5 billion euros), just ahead of Mexican telecommunications giant Carlos Slim who was estimated to own assets worth $72.1 billion, Bloomberg financial news service reported late on Thursday.
The Microsoft founder last held the title of the world's richest person in 2007, Bloomberg said, but Gates' net worth surged in recent weeks as a result of the stock market rally on Wall Street.
Bloomberg's billionaire index is more up to date but less prominent than a ranking compiled by US magazine Forbes. Forbes magazine's March edition still ranks Carlos Slim as the world's richest man, valuing his assets at $73 billion.
However, Bloomberg said the Mexican billionaire's fortune dropped by more than $2 billion this year as the shares of his American Movil telecommunications empire had slumped in the wake of government action to end the firm's market dominance.
By contrast, Bill Gates' wealth climbed by about $10 billion in 2013 after Microsoft shares surged to a five-year high this week. Apart from Microsoft, Gates has stakes in more than a dozen publicly listed companies, which benefited from the recent stock market boom.
Following in third place, after Gates and Slim, was Spanish fashion mogul Amanico Ortega with a net worth of about $57 billion - just ahead of US financial wizard Warren Buffet valued at $53 billion.
uhe/ipj (dpa, Reuters)