Elon Musk reclaims world's richest title amid economic slowdown

Musk overtook luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault with a blockbuster net worth of $192 billion.
Sejal Sharma
Elon Musk.
Elon Musk.

Getty Images 

Elon Musk has become the world’s richest person once again. 

After months of market sparring over the Bloomberg Billionaires Index — a listing of the world’s 500 richest people — with luxury brand tycoon Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk has reclaimed the crown once again. This comes after Arnault’s LVMH share fell by 2.6 percent in Paris trading on Wednesday, reported Bloomberg. Arnault has slipped to second place in the list of richest businessmen.

There is not much difference in the wealth of the two, with Musk’s net worth currently standing at $192 billion and the French billionaire’s at $187 billion. 

Power tussle

Musk, who held the top spot since September 2021 with a personal wealth of $340 billion, first climbed down to the second spot in December 2022 after Tesla’s stock plunged by 50 percent in 2022. Around the same time came his acquisition of the microblogging website Twitter, which resulted in an extraction of $44 billion from his coffers, leading to a decline in his personal wealth as well.

In February 2023, Musk replaced Arnault once again reclaiming the top spot with his net worth standing at $187 billion. During that time, Musk added $50 billion to his personal worth, as reported by Interesting Engineering

But then came April and Musk’s personal wealth dipped by a whopping $13 billion in 24 hours, with Tesla’s stock price dropping by 10 percent immediately as a result of the SpaceX rocket exploding and many celebrities losing their blue verification check marks on Twitter. Arnault took a sizable lead after his fortune rose to $211 billion. Interesting Engineering reported on the same. 

Musk has gained over $55.3 billion in 2023, largely due to Tesla’s shares rallying 66 percent year-to-date. Around 71 percent of Musk’s fortune is dependent on the Austin-based automaker’s valuation.

Luxury sector vs inflation

When Arnault first replaced Musk in December as the one with the deepest pockets, the luxury goods sector was in a boom. This helped drive up LVMH’s stock price.

But the luxury sector has been largely affected amid signs of slowing global economic growth, particularly in the critical market of China. The world’s second-largest economy has seen a rise in the prices of commodities sold by luxury brands in recent months. The difference in prices between domestic and foreign countries is quite large, reported the New York Times

LVMH shares have slid by 10 percent since April and at one point wiped $11 billion from Arnault’s net worth in a single day, reported Bloomberg. Arnault owns brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Celine, and Hennessy.

Other notables in Bloomberg’s list of richest folks include Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Ballmer, Warren Buffett, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg. 

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