Elon Musk, the only billionaire to boast a net worth of more than $200 billion ahead of this week, saw his wealth tumble by $13.3billion Thursday, as Russia commenced military operations in the Ukraine.
Musk’s net worth is now roughly $199 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s index, just below the hallowed $200 billion mark – only achieved by the Tesla CEO and rival Jeff Bezos, who saw his wealth meet the hallowed threshold last April, before dropping to $176 billion in December.
No other person on the planet has amassed a fortune of $200 billion – and as markets plummet amid the large-scale invasion in Eastern Europe, it looks unlikely anyone will reach that distinction in the near future.
Elon Musk, the only billionaire to boast a net worth of more than $200 billion ahead of this week, saw his wealth tumble by $13.3billion Thursday, as Russia commenced military operations in the Ukraine
Tesla’s shares fell for the fifth-straight day Thursday morning to $700 a piece, its lowest evaluation since August, amid a global market sell-off spurred by fear surrounding the Russian occupation, which began early Thursday. It has since rebounded to $768 a share as of Thursday afternoon, and has continued to hover around that mark
Tesla’s shares fell for the fifth-straight day Thursday morning to $700 a piece, its lowest evaluation since August, amid a global market sell-off spurred by fear surrounding the Russian occupation, which began early Thursday.
It has since rebounded to $758 a share, and had continued to fluctuate around that mark as of noon ET Thursday.
Musk, 50, owns 172.6 million in the electric car maker – which boasted a trillion dollar value until December, when it fell below that mark after the South African mogul polled followers on social media on whether he should sell his stake – making him its largest individual shareholder, and his wealth incontrovertibly tied to the company’s current market value.
The conflict in the Ukraine, which began early Thursday, has snarled the global stock market, affecting companies and people around the world
Second- and third- richest men Jeff Bezos and Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault, have both lost approximately $22 billion of their respective fortunes so far this year, leaving their net worths at $169 billion and $155 billion, respectively
The company’s worth as of Thursday is estimated at approximately $789.64 billion, down from its high in November of $1.1 trillion – a nearly 30 percent decrease.
Musk, still the world’s richest man, has seen $72 billion wiped from his fortune so far this year – an amount greater than the combined wealth of the three next richest, Bezos, Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault, and Bill Gates, combined – as markets continue to languish around increasing tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
Bezos, the world’s second-richest man according to Bloomberg, and Arnault have both reportedly lost approximately $22 billion of their respective fortunes so far this year, leaving their net worths at $169 billion and $155 billion, respectively.
Musk, meanwhile, saw his wealth peak at $340.4 billion last year in November, when Tesla shares reached a record high of $1222 per share – 43 percent more than the low seen Thursday.
Later that month, the flamboyant exec, known for his antics on social media, asked his tens of millions of followers on Twitter if he should sell part of his 17 percent stake in his company, sparking a swift decline in its stock that erased $35 billion from his net worth in the span of day.
In the months since, the stock briefly recovered at the end of last year, nearing $1200 before coming into a freefall in 2022, hitting $846 at the end of January and languishing in the $700s in February.
Shares of American tech giants like Amazon fell Thursday as news of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine spread. Bezos owns roughly 11 percent of Amazon’s shares, and lost $22 billion in the span of days due to the struggling market
Arnault’s LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton also experienced a sharp decline that affected his wealth, falling roughly 6 percent from Wednesday to Thursday
During this marked decline, Musk sold off a stunning $16 billion in shares and donated $5.7 billion worth to charity, seemingly foreseeing the effect the escalating situation between Russia and the Ukraine would have on his company and thus his wealth.
After months of fluctuation and uncertainty stemming from a prospective conflict between the two nations, stocks started to fall sharply on Wall Street Tuesday after Russia sent forces into Ukraine’s eastern regions, further escalating tensions.
Then, on Thursday, Russian troop engaged in a nighttime raid on several cities in bordering nation Ukraine, including capital Kiev, causing stocks in Europe and the US to fall sharply, with the S&P 500 also sliding in early morning trading.
In Novemebr, Musk, known for his antics on social media, asked his tens of millions of followers on Twitter if he should sell part of his 17 percent stake in his company, sparking a swift decline in its stock that erased $35 billion from his net worth in the span of day. During this decline, Musk sold off a stunning $16 billion in shares and donated $5.7 billion worth to charity, foreseeing the effect the situation between Russia and the Ukraine would have on his wealth
Shares of American tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google were also not spared Thursday as Russia’s invasion hampered global markets.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index was down 2.5 percent – its losses worse than the market as a whole – as the bell rang Thursday. Individual tech names experienced even worse tribulations.
Apple shared fell 4 percent as markets opened, while Facebook parent Meta fell 2.0 percent, Amazon 1.2 percent and Google 1 percent.
Industry watchers said tech is particularly vulnerable to a sharp stock selloff even though Russia and Ukraine are not key markets for American tech giants. That’s because they’re already trading at such high prices that any little disturbance can knock them off their already shaky pedestals, analysts said.
Energy markets also tightened, as shares in Moscow collapsed by an unprecedented 50 percent, spurring officials to suspend trading earlier in the day. Trading has since resumed.
The price of oil also jumped as high as $105 a barrel, and global stock indexes fell universally, extending market turmoil that had been driven by fears of a full-scale military conflict between the two bordering countries.
Bloomberg Billionaire Index’s current 10 richest people
1. Elon Musk – $199 billion
Source: Tesla, Space X
2. Jeff Bezos – $169 billion
3. Bernard Arnault – $155 billion
4. Bill Gates – $122 billion
5. Larry Page – $114 billion
6. Warren Buffett – $112 billion
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
7. Sergey Brin – $115.1 billion
8. Steve Balmer – $101 billion
9. Larry Ellison – $90 billion
10. Muckesh Ambani – $89.9 billion
Data from Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, as of February 24
Russia is a major energy producer, hence the swings in volatile energy prices, which are then compounded by the inevitable risks of a broader conflict, with more countries poised to enter the fray, to bring on a full-scale war.
Oil prices already had surged recently to their highest level since 2014.
As of Thursday, it was up about $4, or 3.7 percent, to about $95 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The price of Brent crude, the standard for international oils, gained an astonishing $11.50, to hit about $105 per barrel for the first time since 2014, confirming concerns about the burgeoning conflict causing disruptions to global energy supply.
US President Joe Biden announced new sanctions on Russia Thursday afternoon, refusing to take oil from the country, whom the head of state called the ‘aggressor’ in the conflict.
He warned Putin’s ‘choice’ to wage war on the Ukraine will hamper the country’s economy.
Louise Dickson, senior oil market analyst at Rystad Energy, says concerns are well-founded, and that oil prices are set to still rise as the conflict continues to worsen.
‘Oil prices are soaring with no end in sight as the news of Russia’s full-scale military incursion of Ukraine, immediately putting at risk up to 1 million bpd (barrels per day) of Russian crude oil exports transitioning through Ukraine and the Black Sea,’ she told Reuters Thursday.
At least three major buyers of Russian oil were unable to open letters of credit from Western banks to cover purchases on Thursday, the outlet reported.
‘Russia is the third-largest oil producer and second-largest oil exporter. Given low inventories and dwindling spare capacity, the oil market cannot afford large supply disruptions,’ UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said Thursday.
‘Supply concerns may also spur oil stockpiling activity, which supports prices.’
Russia is also the largest provider of natural gas to Europe, providing more than a third of the continent’s supply.