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Elon Musk becomes the first person ever to lose $200 billion

By Brian Chappatta

Elon Musk was the second person ever to amass a personal fortune of more than $200 billion, breaking this threshold in January 2021, months after Jeff Bezos.

The CEO of Tesla Inc has now achieved a first of his own: becoming the only person in history to erase $200 billion from his net worth.

Musk, 51, has seen his fortune plummet to $137 billion after Tesla shares tumbled in recent weeks, including an 11 percent drop on Tuesday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His fortune peaked at $340 billion on November 4, 2021, and he remained the world’s richest person until he was overtaken this month by Bernard Arnault, the French tycoon behind luxury goods powerhouse LVMH.

The round number milestone reflects just how high Musk rose during the rise in asset prices during the easy money pandemic. Tesla surpassed a $1[ads1] trillion market cap for the first time in October 2021, joining the likes of ubiquitous technology companies Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Inc and Google parent Alphabet Inc, although the electric vehicles represented only a fraction of the total . the car market.

Read also | Between new rivals and a distracted boss, Tesla is suffering on Wall Street

Now Tesla’s dominance in electric cars, the basis of its high valuation, is at risk as competitors catch up. It is offering US consumers a rare $7,500 discount to take delivery of the two highest-volume models before the turn of the year, while reportedly reducing production at its Shanghai factory.

Meanwhile, with increased pressure on Tesla, Musk has been preoccupied with Twitter, which he bought for $44 billion in late October. He has used a move-fast-and-crack-thing approach like firing staff and then asking them to come back and using content policies casually to justify banning the accounts of some prominent journalists who cover him.

The decline in Tesla shares has been so steep — shares fell 65 percent in 2022 — and Musk has sold so much this year to help cover his Twitter purchase, that they are no longer his biggest asset, according to Bloomberg’s wealth index. Musk’s $44.8 billion stake in his close Space Exploration Technologies Corp exceeds his roughly $44 billion position in Tesla stock (he still has options worth an estimated $27.8 billion). Musk now owns 42.2 percent of SpaceX, according to a recent filing.

Musk, for his part, has dismissed concerns about Tesla and has repeatedly taken to Twitter to criticize the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates at the fastest pace in a generation.

“Tesla drives better than ever!” Musk tweeted on December 16. “We do not control the Federal Reserve. That’s the real problem here.”

However, the billionaire, who has previously borrowed heavily against his stake in Tesla, has recently warned against the dangers of borrowing money in panicked markets.

“I would really advise people not to have margin debt in a volatile stock market and, you know, from a cash standpoint, keep the powder dry,” Musk said on the All-In podcast released this month. “You can have some pretty extreme things happen in a down market.”

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