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.


Oil prices ‘likely to remain static despite output cuts’

Updated 01 October 2020

Oil prices ‘likely to remain static despite output cuts’

  • Survey points to uneven recovery with demand under threat from rising coronavirus cases

BENGALURU: Oil prices will stay near current levels this year as rising novel coronavirus cases threaten to slow the pace of demand recovery and counter output curbs by top producers, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

The survey of 40 analysts and economists forecast benchmark Brent crude averaging $42.48 a barrel in 2020. That compares with an average of $42.54 this year and last month’s forecast of $42.75. Brent is projected to average $50.41 in 2021.

The 2020 US crude price outlook was at $38.70 per barrel versus $38.82 predicted in August. It has averaged $38.20 this year.

“As long as there is no working vaccine available, the main risk for oil prices is lower-than-expected demand,” Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro said.

Global demand was seen contracting by 8 million-9.8 million bpd (barrels per day) this year, slightly less bleak than the 8 million-10 million bpd consensus last month.

“Demand recovery should still continue in our view, although at a slower pace with the easiest demand gains behind us,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

The recovery “will remain uneven”, he added.

Brent prices are on track for their first monthly decline in six as rising coronavirus infections across many regions, including Europe and the US brought new restrictions, while global cases surpassed 33 million.

The International Energy Agency this month cut its 2020 demand forecast by 200,000 bpd to 91.7 million bpd.

But production cuts led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies will offer some support to prices, analysts said, with the group curbing output by 7.7 million bpd.

“We suspect compliance with the OPEC+ deal will remain patchy but doubt that this will prevent the group from extending or even deepening its output cuts later this year,” Capital Economics analyst Caroline Bain said.