Bernard Arnault, the world's richest man, experienced an $11.2 billion decline in fortune in one day as concerns over a weakening US economy impacted luxury goods demand.

Bernard Arnault, the founder and CEO of LVMH— the world's largest luxury goods company, experienced an $11.2 billion decline in fortune in one day due to concerns about a weakening US economy impacting the demand for luxury goods. 

That means the gap between the world’s richest man, Bernard Arnault's fortune and Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the world's second-richest person, has narrowed by $11.2 billion. 

On Tuesday, LVMH, known for its prestigious brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, and Christian Dior, saw a 5% drop in its shares in Paris. It is the most significant drop in over a year, contributing to a $30 billion decline in the European luxury sector. Still, the MSCI Europe Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods Index had increased by 27%, while LVMH's share price had been climbing steadily for the majority of 2023, up 23% for the year. 

Despite this setback, Bernard Arnault's net worth is $191.6 billion, with a substantial gain of $29.5 billion throughout the year. As per Forbes, Arnault is still the world’s richest man.

He first claimed the top spot in December and has remained at the pinnacle since surpassing Elon Musk, whose fortune has dwindled. Presently, Elon Musk's net worth is $173 billion.

In April, LVMH achieved a remarkable milestone, becoming the first European company to reach a market valuation exceeding $500 billion. Arnault joined an elite group of individuals, including Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, as one of the few with a net worth surpassing $200 billion.

At a luxury conference in Paris organised by Morgan Stanley, participants noted a relatively subdued performance in the US market, which raised concerns.  However, analysts at Deutsche Bank predict that international investors may become more cautious with European luxury stocks due to the slower growth in the US, potentially affecting LVMH's share price.

—Kritika Singhal

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