Amazon dethrones Google as top global brand: survey

The leading brands have embraced ‘disruptive’ business models to beat traditional rivals in the technology, finance and retail sectors. (Reuters)
Updated 11 June 2019
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Amazon dethrones Google as top global brand: survey

  • The brand value of Amazon surged by 52 percent to $315 billion
  • Brand value on the key survey is calculated on the basis of the companies’ financial performance and their standing among consumers across the globe

LONDON: US retail giant Amazon has moved past hi-tech titans Apple and Google to become the world’s most valuable brand, a key survey showed Tuesday.
The brand value of Amazon surged by 52 percent to $315 billion, global market research agency Kantar said in its 2019 100 Top BrandZ report.
Amazon jumped from third to first place to eclipse Google — which slid from first to third place with Apple holding on to the second spot.
The Seattle-based retail behemoth, founded by Jeff Bezos in his garage in 1994, topped the table thanks to key acquisitions, superior customer services and a disruptive business model, Kantar said in a statement.
“Amazon’s smart acquisitions, that have led to new revenue streams, excellent customer service provision and its ability to stay ahead of its competitors by offering a diverse ecosystem of products and services, have allowed Amazon to continuously accelerate its brand value growth,” said Kantar.
The agency, which is owned by British advertising group WPP, added that Amazon showed “little sign” of any slowdown in its growth.
The top ten companies were once again dominated by US firms, with Apple on $309.5 billion, Google on $309 billion and Microsoft on $251 billion.
Payments specialist Visa had the fifth biggest value at almost $178 billion, while social networking group Facebook was the sixth largest at nearly $159 billion.
For the first time, Alibaba beat Tencent to become the most valuable Chinese brand.
E-commerce leader Alibaba was the seventh biggest at $131.2 billion, up two places on the previous year.
Internet giant Tencent fell three spots to stand at number eight with a value of $130.9 billion.
In a sign of Asia’s growing importance, 23 of the top 100 brands were Asian — including 15 from China.
The leading brands have embraced “disruptive” business models to beat traditional rivals in the technology, finance and retail sectors.
“Amazon’s phenomenal brand value growth of almost $108 billion in the last year demonstrates how brands are now less anchored to individual categories and regions,” said Doreen Wang, Kantar’s global head of BrandZ.
“The boundaries are blurring as technology fluency allow brands, such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba, to offer a range of services across multiple consumer touchpoints.
“Using their consumer experience and expertise, these brands are crossing over into the business services sector, creating new opportunities for brand growth.
“Disruptive ecosystem models are flourishing in regions such as Asia, where consumers are more technology-enabled and where brands are integrating themselves into every aspect of people’s daily lives.”
Brand value on the key survey is calculated on the basis of the companies’ financial performance and their standing among consumers across the globe.


Oil prices rise on gains prompted by tensions between US and Iran

Updated 25 min 6 sec ago
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Oil prices rise on gains prompted by tensions between US and Iran

  • Russian energy minister praises international cooperation to stabilize oil markets

LONDON: Oil prices rose on Monday, extending large gains last week that were prompted by tensions between Iran and the US, as Washington was set to announce new sanctions on Tehran.

West Texas Intermediate crude was up 50 cents, or 0.87 percent, at $57.93 a barrel.

Brent futures were up 9 cents, or 0.14 percent at $65.29 a barrel by 1040 GMT.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he called off a military strike in retaliation for the shooting down of a US drone by Iran, saying the potential death toll would be disproportionate, adding on Sunday that he was not seeking war.

Oil prices surged after Iran shot down the aircraft on Thursday that the US claimed was in international airspace and Tehran said was over its territory.

Brent racked up a gain of about 5 percent last week, its first weekly gain in five weeks, and WTI jumped about 10 percent, its biggest weekly percentage gain since December 2016.

But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “significant” sanctions on Iran would be announced on Monday aimed at further choking off resources that Tehran uses to fund its activities in the region.

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said the UK believed neither the US nor Iran wanted a conflict but warned tensions could lead to an “accidental war.”

Also boosting prices, global supply may remain tight as OPEC and its allies including Russia appear likely to extend their oil cut pact at their meeting July 1-2 in Vienna, analysts said.

“An extension of OPEC+ production cuts through the end of the year seems highly likely given recent price action,” US investment bank Jefferies said in a note.

“The market expects an extension though, and any failure could see oil price gap down. The probabilities favor restraint however,” it added.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Monday said international cooperation on crude production had helped stabilize oil markets and is more important than ever.

“There is a good example of successful cooperation in balancing the oil market between the OPEC countries and non-OPEC. Thanks to joint efforts, we today see a stabilization of world oil markets,” Novak said.

Boosting oil demand, prospects of a near-term interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve aimed at bolstering the US economy have weakened the dollar.

Oil is usually priced in dollars, and a slide in the value of the weaker greenback makes it cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Separately, Iranian crude exports have dropped so far in June to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) or less after the US tightened the screws on Tehran’s main source of income, industry sources said and tanker data showed, deepening global supply losses.

The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. Aiming to cut Iran’s sales to zero, Washington in May ended sanctions waivers to importers of Iranian oil.

Iran has nonetheless sent abroad about 300,000 bpd of crude in the first three weeks of June, according to two industry sources who track the flows. Data from Refinitiv Eikon put crude shipments at about 240,000 bpd.

“It’s a very low level of real crude exports,” said one of the sources.

The squeeze on exports from Iran, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is a key factor for the producer group and its allies, which meet on July 1-2 to decide whether to pump more oil in the rest of 2019.

Iran’s June exports are down from about 400,000-500,000 bpd in May as estimated by the industry sources and Refinitiv and a fraction of the more than 2.5 million bpd that Iran shipped in April 2018, the month before President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear deal.

Iranian exports have become more opaque since US sanctions returned in November, making it harder to assess volumes.

Tehran no longer reports its production figures to OPEC and there is no definitive information on exports since it can be difficult to tell if a vessel has sailed to a specific end-user.

Refinitiv Eikon data showed Iran has exported 5.7 million barrels of crude in the first 24 days of June to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Singapore and Syria, although these may not be the final destinations.

Kpler, another company which tracks oil flows, estimates that Iran loaded 645,000 bpd of crude and condensate, a light oil, onto tankers in the first half of June, of which 82 percent are floating in Gulf waters.

That would put actual crude exports in the first half of the month even lower than 300,000 bpd.

“American restrictions are having a clear effect on Iran’s ability to sell into global markets,” Kpler said.