Saudi Aramco has surpassed Apple to become the world’s most valuable company once again, following the recent rise in oil price that has been largely spurred by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The tide turned on Wednesday after Aramco traded near its highest level on record, with a market capitalization of about $2.43 trillion, surpassing that of Apple for the first time since 2020. The iPhone maker fell 5.2 per cent to close at $146.50 per share, giving it a valuation of $2.37 trillion.
Apple, like others, has been caught in the web of brewing economic crisis that has instigated massive selloff of equities in industries – especially tech. Fear of uncertainties has grown significantly among investors as the world-leading economies face rising inflation. Apple has fallen nearly 20% since its $182.94 peak on Jan. 4 that saw the iPhonemaker boasting a market value of $3 trillion, about $1 trillion more than Aramco’s.
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With the West and its allies looking for alternatives to Russia’s energy, Aramco has seen its valuation leap, greatly overcoming pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls that crashed the oil market. In March, the oil giant reported that its full-year profit last year more than doubled due to soaring oil prices. Aramco stock is up over 27% so far in 2022.
Apple has remained the world’s most valuable traded company after overtaking Saudi Aramco in 2020. Though the new shift is expected to be temporary as economies work to tackle the causes of inflation that is forcing a global raise of interest rates, Saudi Aramco may retain the position until issues like logistics that have stood in the way of post-covid economic recovery are resolved.
“You can’t compare Apple to Saudi Aramco in terms of their businesses or fundamentals, but the outlook for the commodity space has improved. They’re the beneficiaries of inflation and tight supply,” said James Meyer, chief investment officer at Tower Bridge Advisors.
The Fed is expected to further raise interest rates to another 150 basis points this year in an attempt to stall rising inflation. But the Russia-Ukraine conflict is another factor in the economic crisis that neither the US nor its allies can put a stop to. This means that tech companies will have to wait it out.
“There’s panic selling in a lot of tech and other high-multiple names, and the money coming out of there seems headed in particular for energy, which for now has a favorable outlook, given commodity prices,” he said. “Companies like Aramco are benefitting significantly from this environment,” Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist at Ingalls & Snyder said.