Apple takes smartphone sales crown from Samsung

Samsung Electronics Co. said Thursday its operating profit for the last quarter fell 33.7% from a year earlier but it predicted earnings will improve in 2020, driven by a gradually stabilizing computer chip market and increasing 5G smartphone sales. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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Updated 31 January 2020

Apple takes smartphone sales crown from Samsung

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Apple was the top smartphone seller in the final quarter of last year, seizing the crown from Samsung, according to market trackers.
Apple shipped an estimated 73.8 million iPhones during the fourth quarter, driven by the popularity of its newest models in the US and Europe and lower-priced handsets in other parts of the world, International Data Corporation reported this week.
Apple, which has been below Samsung for some time, “is recovering, due to cheaper iPhone 11 pricing and healthier demand in Asia and North America,” said Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics, whose separate survey also showed Apple on top in the past quarter.
South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung delivered some 69.4 million handsets as it slipped to the number two position, according to IDC.
Chinese smartphone powerhouse Huawei remained a strong player in its home market, but saw sales of premium models take a hit in Western Europe in the wake of US sanctions, according to IDC analyst Melissa Chau.
“Things will continue to look challenging for Huawei given that the trade war is still not yet resolved, while new uncertainty raised around the Wuhan coronavirus could potentially have adverse effects on not just Huawei, but all players reliant on the China smartphone supply chain,” Chau said.
Huawei shipped 56.2 million smartphones during the quarter, a decline of about seven percent from the same period a year earlier, IDC reported.
IHS Markit senior analyst Anna Ahrens said Huawei faces headwinds because of US sanctions which have prevented it from getting key components and software.
“In markets like Western Europe, the lack of Google services will make Huawei phones a hard sell for consumers, especially considering that the company’s Mate series is positioned squarely in the premium price segment,” Ahrens said.
Samsung remained the top smartphone seller overall last year, and the broader market is expected to get a boost as 5G telecom networks get established and new smartphones synched to them are launched.
For the full year, overall smartphone sales were down around one percent despite an improving trend in the fourth quarter, according to IDC and Strategy Analytics surveys.
IDC reported shipments of 368 million handsets in 2019 compared with 373 million a year earlier, marking a third consecutive yearly decline.


Iraq pledges full compliance with OPEC+ oil cuts

Updated 6 min 57 sec ago

Iraq pledges full compliance with OPEC+ oil cuts

  • Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, the Saudi Arabian energy minister, and his Iraqi counterpart, Ihsan Ismail, reaffirmed their commitment to the cuts
  • Under tough economic pressure, Iraq had struggled to meet the full cuts, but Ismail promised to reach 100 percent this month

DUBAI: Iraq has pledged to meet in full its obligations under the OPEC+ oil production cuts that have been credited with rebalancing global crude markets after the mayhem of April’s “Black Monday” when prices crashed around the world.

In a telephone call between Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabian energy minister, and his Iraqi counterpart, Ihsan Ismail, the two men reaffirmed their commitment to the cuts, which have helped to pull the oil price back from historic lows.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, has more than doubled in the past three months.

Under tough economic pressure, Iraq had struggled to meet the full cuts, but Ismail promised to reach 100 percent this month. Iraq has now committed itself to an ambitious program of compensation to make up for past overproduction.

Iraq will further reduce production by 400,000 barrels per day this month and next, Ismail said, bringing its total cut to 1.25 million barrels daily. That level of cuts could be adjusted when final estimates of compliance are assessed by the six “secondary sources” that monitor OPEC+ output.

“The two ministers stressed that efforts by OPEC+ countries toward meeting production cuts, and the extra cuts under the compensation regime, will enhance oil market stability, help accelerate the rebalancing of global oil markets, and send a constructive signal to the market,” a joint statement added.

Prince Abdulaziz thanked Ismail for his efforts to improve Iraq’s compliance with the agreement.

Iraq had been the biggest laggard in the move toward 100 percent compliance by the 23 members of the OPEC+ alliance.

Officials in Riyadh told Arab News that Iraqi compliance had reached about 90 percent, a high level by the country’s previous standards but still short of the new targets.

Saudi Arabia has been forcefully advocating full compliance with the targets in an effort to remove oil from the global market as demand is still badly affected by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The oil market will be under the spotlight later this month when the joint ministerial monitoring committee of OPEC+ energy ministers convenes virtually in the most recent of the monthly meetings set up to oversee the state of the global industry.

Oil had another strong week on global markets, breaking through the $45 barrier for the first time since early March on signs that the glut in US oil stocks was easing, as well as reductions in the amount of “floating crude” stored in tankers on the world’s oceans.

The price spiked on news of the Beirut explosion, which some analysts believed could herald a deterioration in regional security and a threat to oil exports.

Brent crude was trading at $44.70 on international markets.