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‘Batten down the hatches’: Bezos and fellow billionaires are issuing recession warnings

<i>Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP/Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>Both Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos seem to agree a recession could be looming.
Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP/Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Both Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos seem to agree a recession could be looming.

By Allison Morrow, CNN Business

Even the uber-rich are on edge now about the economy.

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, two of the wealthiest people on the entire planet (who generally don’t agree on much of anything), are both signaling some tension about a looming recession.

Bezos earlier this week commented that it’s time to “batten down the hatches,” in a tweet that included a video of Goldman Sachs’ CEO saying there was a good chance of a recession on the horizon.

Musk, for his part, was a little more sanguine as he sought (unsuccessfully, in the end) to ease Wall Street’s concerns about Tesla’s growth prospects. On a call with analysts Wednesday night, Musk struck a confident tone, saying the company has “excellent” demand for the next quarter and that factories are running at full speed.

But he admitted demand was “a little harder” to come by, and noted that Europe and China are experiencing a “recession of sorts.” Musk also warned that Tesla would fall short of its sales growth target.

Shares fell 7% in early trading Thursday, even though Tesla reported near-record profit in the third quarter. Analysts and investors are increasingly worried about Tesla’s ability to sustain its growth in the face of logistical problems and rising inflation.

The comments from Musk and Bezos add to a chorus of powerful figures fretting that the economy is going to take a turn for the worse. Earlier this month, Jamie Dimon, the billionaire head of JPMorgan Chase, spooked the whole stock market by saying a recession could hit the US in as little as six to nine months.

Even non-billionaire-but-still-rich person Gwyneth Paltrow is losing sleep over it.

“The economy sucks,” she told the Hollywood Reporter this week. “I’m just worried about next year and how bad the recession’s gonna be.”

Other celebrities are weighing in, too. Last month, rapper Cardi B ranted about inflation and interest rates. “How are people surviving? I want to know.”

It’s a reasonable worry: Researchers recently put the probability of a global recession at a little over 98%.

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