Via Financial Times

Asia Apple suppliers slip after warning from iPhone maker

Share prices for Apple suppliers in Asia fell after the Californian company warned that disruptions in China from the coronavirus will cause revenues to fall short in the current quarter.

Hong Kong-listed AAC Technologies, which supplies acoustic components to Apple, was down 4 per cent in early trading against a 1.1 per cent fall for the Hang Seng index. Taiwanese chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co fell 1.7 per cent and Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix fell 2.1 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively in South Korea.

Apple warned that “worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained” and that factories run by its suppliers in China have resumed work more slowly than expected.

The Chinese government has imposed restrictions on the movement of people and rules on when certain types of companies could restart work in a bid to contain the outbreak of the virus.

Gauging the weakness in China’s economy

Economists broadly expect China’s growth rate to cool sharply in the first quarter of this year — although the extent of the slowdown is the subject of debate.

With official activity data not due until next month, economists at Goldman Sachs have been tracking various measures that they reckon might shed light on the situation.

Traffic congestion

Congestion in 100 major Chinese cities typically picks up in the days following the lunar new year holiday. That has not been the case this year.

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Source: Wind & Goldman Sachs

Coal consumption

Major electricity producers consumed 35 per cent less coal during the first 16 days of February than “normal seasonality would suggest”, Goldman said.

Source: Wind & Goldman Sachs

Property sales

Sales of property in 30 major cities remains very depressed relative to the normal uptick following the lunar new year.

Source: Wind & Goldman Sachs

Japanese stocks slide almost 1% after Apple sales warning

Japan’s equities market has come under pressure after Apple warned the coronavirus outbreak will cause it to miss its quarterly sales target.

The country’s Topix stock gauge dropped 0.8 per cent in morning dealings in Tokyo. It has fallen for seven-straight sessions in the longest losing streak since last May.

Makers of electronic appliances were the heaviest decliners on Tuesday, with the index tracking the sector down around 1.9 per cent. Manufacturers of precision devices and metals products were also under pressure.

Apple is the world’s biggest technology company and is seen as a bellwether for the sector and the companies that supply it.

Japan’s stock market had dropped on Monday after a report showed the country’s gross domestic product contracted in the fourth quarter of 2019 at an annualised 6.3 per cent rate in the wake of the consumption tax hike. Analysts are wary about how Japan’s economy, one of the biggest in the world, will perform in the current quarter given the heavy blow dealt to the region by the coronavirus outbreak.

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Analysts at ABN Amro note that Japan and the eurozone are the two industrialised regions that are the “most exposed to China. “The share of exports to China in Japan’s total good exports is close to 20 per cent, and the share of exports to China in Japan’s GDP is around 3 per cent,” they said.

China says coronavirus death toll reaches almost 1,900

China reported 98 new deaths from coronavirus in the mainland to the end of Monday, taking the total to 1,868. There were 1,886 new cases to give a total of 72,436, according to the National Health Commission. Both the number of deaths and of new cases were lower than the previous day.

Apple warns over coronavirus disruption

Apple has warned that disruption in China from the coronavirus will cause its revenues to fall short in the current quarter, marking the second time in little over a year that weakness in China has forced the world’s most valuable technology company to issue a financial alert.

The California-based company said its factories were “ramping up more slowly than we anticipated had anticipated” after the Chinese government extended the lunar new year break and restricted the movement of people and when businesses could reopen.

Read more in our coverage here

Hubei reports 93 new coronavirus deaths

Hubei, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in China, reported 93 new deaths to the end of Monday, down from the previous day’s tally of 100. The province’s health commission also reported 1,807 new cases, lower than that recorded for Sunday.

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