An interesting viewpoint from Bloomberg this afternoon, whose chart of the day shows how Apple is now bigger than the whole of the Russian stock market.
Thanks to various factors, including sliding oil prices and sanctions from Western economies against Russian companies, the value of Russian shares has fallen $234bn (£150bn) this year, reckons Bloomberg. Meanwhile, Apple – still basking in the warm glow of praise for its iPhone 6 – has added $147bn. That puts the value of each at $531bn and $652bn respectively. In other words:
If you owned Apple and sold it, you could purchase the entire stock market of Russia, and still have enough change to buy every Russian an iPhone 6 Plus.
But for Russian investors, the worry is what the future holds. Right now, having an equities market worth less than a company that makes shiny toys isn't their biggest worry: in the past three months, the rouble has fallen 23 per cent against the dollar. Although the country's central bank has hiked interest rates to 9.5 per cent and started buying $350m of currency a day, there are still concerns about how far the currency will slide.
That's partly thanks to the price of oil. Oil and gas made up 68 per cent of Russia's exports in the first half of 2014, according to The Economist. At the time, oil prices averaged $109 a barrel. Since then, they've dropped to $80 a barrel, and are predicted to stay low: US government agency the Energy Information Administration suggests the average price will hover around $83 a barrel next year. Add to that Western sanctions, many of which target Russian oil companies, and the country has more than a few iPhones to worry about.