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Elon Musk loses $15 billion in a day after bitcoin warning

Elon Musk loses $15 billion in a day after bitcoin warning
Business
Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person after Tesla Inc. shares slid 8.6 per cent on Monday, wiping $15.2 billion from his net worth.

Tesla’s biggest decline since September was fuelled in part by Musk’s comments over the weekend that the prices of bitcoin and smaller rival Ether “do seem high.” His message — via his favoured medium of Twitter — came two weeks after Tesla announced it added $1.5 billion in bitcoin to its balance sheet.

The cryptocurrency, which has surged more than 400 per cent over the past year, tumbled for a second day on Tuesday, at one point slipping below $50,000 on skepticism over the durability of its rally. Tesla shares also continued their slide in early trading in New York, falling 5.2 per cent to $677.50 at 8:09 a.m.

Musk also tweeted earlier Monday that the company’s Model Y Standard Range SUV would still be available “off the menu,” backing up reports from electric vehicle news site Electrek that the model had been removed from its online configurator.

Musk drops to second on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the world’s 500 richest people with a net worth of $183.4 billion — down from a peak of $210 billion in January. Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos reclaimed the top spot even as his fortune fell by $3.7 billion to $186.3 billion Monday.

The two billionaires have been swapping places since January as the value of Tesla fluctuated. The stock surged as much as 25 per cent to start 2021 before wiping off almost all of this year’s gain. Musk briefly overtook Bezos after his rocket company SpaceX raised $850 million earlier this month, valuing the company at $74 billion, a 60 per cent jump from August.

Bezos occupied the top spot on the ranking for three straight years prior to January, when Musk eclipsed the e-commerce titan thanks to a 794 per cent rally in Tesla shares.

The market sell-off on Monday hit many of the world’s ultra-rich. Zhong Shanshan, Asia’s wealthiest person, was the second-biggest decliner on the Bloomberg index, dropping by $5.1 billion as his bottled-water company fell 4.5 per cent. Colin Huang of Pinduoduo Inc., Reliance Industries Ltd.’s Mukesh Ambani and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma all lost more than $2.5 billion each.
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