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Saudi Aramco becomes world's most valuable company, dethroning Apple

Saudi Aramco is billed as the largest oil producing company in the world. ©AFP

San Francisco (AFP) - Saudi Aramco on Wednesday dethroned Apple as the world's most valuable company as surging oil prices drove up shares and tech stocks slumped.

The Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company, billed as the largest oil producing company in the world, was valued at $2.42 trillion based on the price of its shares at close of market.

Apple, meanwhile, has seen its share price drop over the past month and was valued at $2.37 trillion when official trading ended on Wednesday.

The sinking share price came despite Apple reporting better-than-expected profits in the first three months of this year amid strong consumer demand.

But, Apple warned that the China Covid-19 lockdown and ongoing supply chain woes would dent June quarter results by $4 to $8 billion.

"Supply constraints caused by Covid-related disruptions and industry-wide silicon shortages are impacting our ability to meet customer demand for our products," Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said on a conference call with analysts.

The results looked good following stumbles by some Big Tech peers as growth from the stay-at-home demand amid the pandemic slows and companies confront rising operating and labor costs.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco recently reported a 124 percent net profit surge for last year, hours after Yemeni rebels attacked its facilities causing a "temporary" drop in production.

As the world economy started to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, "Aramco's net income increased by 124 percent to $110.0 billion in 2021, compared to $49.0 billion in 2020," the company said.

The kingdom, one of the world's top crude exporters, has been under pressure to raise output as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against Moscow have roiled global energy markets.

Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser cautioned that the company's outlook remained uncertain due in part to "geopolitical factors". 

"We continue to make progress on increasing our crude oil production capacity, executing our gas expansion program and increasing our liquids to chemicals capacity," Nasser said.

On the results, for 2021, he acknowledged that "economic conditions have improved considerably".

A strong rebound last year saw demand for oil increase and prices recover from their 2020 lows.

Inflation could cause a drop in consumption, reducing demand for oil, while tech shares could continue to be dragged down by investor concerns over company costs, interest rate rises and supply chain woes.

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Dive Deeper:
Saudi Aramco overtakes Apple as world’s most valuable company
Soaring commodity prices swell oil giant’s profits as tech stock slide pegs back iPhone maker
Apple no longer world's most valuable company. Check out the new No 1
Earlier this year, Apple boasted a market value of $3 trillion, about $1 trillion more than Saudi Aramco’s.Since then, however,…
Data Is The New Oil? Not Yet! Saudi Aramco Surpasses Apple To Become Most Valuable Company
Saudi Aramco has beaten Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) to become the most valuable company, 
Boss of world’s biggest microchip maker SMIC says smartphone demand dropping ‘like a rock’
The world’s biggest microchip maker has said demand for mobile phones and computers has dropped “like a rock” as war…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Surging prices rattle markets and tech stocks, while Bitcoin tanks to below $US27,000
Surging prices — and the possibility of looming interest rate hikes — are rattling global markets, tech stocks and crypto,…
Equities steady after a week of inflation-fed worries
Recap: Global stocks regained some ground on Friday after a turbulent week triggered by concerns over surging inflation, aggressive rate…
Get all your news in one place