NEW YORK - Bernard Arnault, the world’s richest person, had US$11.2 billion (S$15 billion) wiped from his fortune in one day over concerns that a softening US economy will dampen demand for luxury goods.
The founder of LVMH - whose offerings include Louis Vuitton handbags, Moet & Chandon Champagne and Christian Dior gowns - had seen his wealth balloon for most of 2023 as share prices of European luxury companies surged.
On Tuesday, he gave back some of those gains. LVMH shares fell 5 per cent in Paris - the most in more than a year - amid a broader decline that erased about US$30 billion from the European luxury sector.
Even with the sell-off, the French billionaire still has a net worth of US$191.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s added US$29.5 billion so far this year.
The gap between the fortunes of Mr Arnault and Tesla’s Elon Musk, the world’s second-richest person, has shrunk to just US$11.4 billion.
Tuesday’s rout came after a lengthy rally in LVMH’s share price, which is still up 23 per cent for the year. The MSCI Europe Textiles Apparel & Luxury Goods Index has surged 27 per cent.
Attendees at a luxury conference in Paris organised by Morgan Stanley flagged a “relatively more subdued” performance in the United States, according to Edouard Aubin, an analyst at the investment bank.
Deutsche Bank analysts Matt Garland and Adam Cochrane said in a note that they expect investors to become more selective with European luxury stocks, with slowing growth in the US a concern. BLOOMBERG