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Germany

Germany's Rich Lose Billions in Credit Crunch

The global reverberations of the financial crisis have severely shaken the stock portfolios of Germany's richest families. Some 40 billion euros ($55 billion) have been lost by the country's wealthiest people.

wealthy woman shopping

Germany's richest are likely cutting back on spending sprees these days

The economic meltdown has led to losses among Germany's 20 richest families of about "30 percent on average" of their fortunes since 2007, said asset manager Joachim Paul Schaefer, according to a report published Saturday in the financial magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

"It is clear now that the present crisis has inflicted much deeper wounds on big family fortunes than the last four or five recessions combined," he said.

He compared today's threats to family fortunes that have grown over generations to those experienced during the bad old days of hyperinflation, during the 1920s or 1930s in Germany.

For example, the magazine said the value of the shares of the Quandt industrial dynasty, which owns one-half of the capital of automaker BMW, has decreased by 50 percent in one year.

According to the magazine, there are 122 German individuals or families worth at least one billion euros ($1.38 billion).

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