Apple shipped 2.5 million iPhones in China in March following virus slump

Apple shipped roughly 2.5 million iPhones in China in March, a slight rebound after one of its worst months in the country ever. (AFP)
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Updated 14 April 2020

Apple shipped 2.5 million iPhones in China in March following virus slump

  • Smartphone companies are hoping for a strong recovery in demand in China
  • Mobile phone shipments in China in March totaled 21 million units

SHANGHAI: Apple shipped roughly 2.5 million iPhones in China in March, a slight rebound after one of its worst months in the country ever, according to government data published on Friday.
Smartphone companies are hoping for a strong recovery in demand in China, where the deadly coronavirus is subsiding, just as it spreads overseas and looks set to trigger a global recession.
Mobile phone shipments in China in March totaled 21 million units, according to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a government think tank.
That was a more than three-fold increase from February, yet still down roughly 20 percent compared with March 2019.
Chinese retailers largely resumed operations by early March, with brick-and-mortar outlets re-opening and e-commerce logistics getting back in gear after the virus and tough containment measures brought much of the economy to a standstill in the first two months.
Apple shipped roughly 500,000 phones in China in February, according to the CAICT.
Many smartphone makers are now hoping that sales in China can cushion declines in overseas markets in coming months.
In its quarterly earnings call, the then-CFO of Xiaomi Corp. said that the Chinese market had recovered to roughly 80 percent of its normal levels.
The company later wrote a letter to the government of India, one of its largest markets, requesting that it consider smartphones an essential commodity and therefore exempt from shipping restrictions.
Earlier this month several Chinese online retailers slashed prices on iPhone 11 models. Apple has let third-party sellers in China offer discounts in the past in order to spur demand.
The company announces its quarterly earnings results on April 30.


‘Lower for longer’: Fed’s warning on interest rates

Updated 24 September 2020

‘Lower for longer’: Fed’s warning on interest rates

  • The Fed cut rates to near zero in March and took other steps to combat a recession

WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Wednesday that policymakers “are not even going to begin thinking” about raising interest rates until inflation hits 2 percent, comments aimed at cementing the public’s understanding of the US central bank’s new approach to monetary policy.

“Rates will be at the current level, which is basically zero, until actual observed PCE inflation has reached 2 percent,” Clarida told Bloomberg Television, referring to the Fed’s preferred measure of prices. PCE inflation tends to be somewhat lower than the better-known consumer price index.

“We could actually keep rates at this level beyond that. But we are not even going to begin thinking about lifting off, we expect, until we actually get observed inflation equal to 2 percent. Also we want our labor market indicators to be consistent with maximum employment.”

The Fed cut rates to near zero in March and took other steps to combat a recession that took hold as businesses shut down and consumers stayed home to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Clarida said that with further government aid from Congress and the steps the Fed has already taken, the US economy could return from the current “deep hole” of joblessness and weak demand in perhaps three years.

To aid that process, the Fed in late August revised its approach to monetary policy to commit to lower rates for longer periods of time, allowing the risk of higher inflation to try to encourage a stronger economic recovery and more job gains for workers. A follow-up policy statement last week gave more specific guidance about future decisions, but questions remain about what the new approach will mean in practice.

Clarida said there should not be any confusion: Rates will not increase until labor markets recover and prices hit the Fed’s target.

“So lower for longer, and we have given some observable metrics,” for judging when a rate hike debate might begin, he said.

Decisions about any possible overshoot of inflation are “academic” at this point, he added, and can be made once the economy rebounds.