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Meet the World's New 'Richest Person' -- For Now

Mexico's Carlos Slim and Microsoft's Bill Gates have been overtaken in the race to be the "World's Richest Person," at least for today, according to reports from India's news media.

The Economic Times and the Press Trust of India reported Monday that Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and largest shareholder of India's Reliance Industries, surpassed Slim, Gates and the well-known investor Warren Buffett, due to a strong rally in Reliance shares. Ambani owns almost half of Reliance's outstanding stock.

Here's how the Indian reports rank the top five as of today:

  • Mukesh Ambani - $63.2 billion
  • Carlos Slim Helu - $62.2993 billion
  • William (Bill) Gates - $62.29 billion
  • Warren Buffett - $55.9 billion
  • Lakshmi Mittal - $50.9 billion

The ranking appears to be the result of calculations by the Indian news media based on Ambani's and Slim's holdings in publicly traded companies. Gates' total wealth is more difficult to estimate because he has many private holdings.

Determining who is the world's richest person at any given point in time is not an exact science, although Forbes Magazine publishes a list that is closely followed. It is updated once a year in the spring, but a magazine spokesman tells us that its India's 40 Richest list will be published in mid-November. It will include the magazine's current valuation of Ambani's wealth.

Earlier this month, when it published its list of the richest people in the United States, Forbes estimated that Slim and Gates were in a virtual tie for the title of world's richest person.

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