Apple earnings could decline 29% on a China ban, says Goldman

Most of the rest of the iPhone supply chain is in mainland China, and if China were to restrict iPhone production in any way, Apple would not be able to move much volume outside the country on short notice. (Reuters pic)

LONDON: Apple Inc’s earnings would take a 29% hit if China were to retaliate against the US with a ban on sales of the iPhone maker’s products, Goldman Sachs estimated.

While Goldman takes no view on the likelihood of a potential ban, such a restriction would represent 100% of estimated Apple earnings exposure to both mainland China and Hong Kong, assuming some offsetting impact from cost savings in sales and marketing, analysts including Rod Hall wrote in a note.

The stock fell 0.5% in US pre-market trading.

Worries over the wider impact of the trade war have intensified after the US blacklisted Huawei Technologies Co last week, which places a question mark over the Chinese company’s partnerships with US chipmakers, software and component suppliers.

Goldman believes Intel Corp’s latest XMM modems for the iPhone are made in the US, while Apple’s A-series chips are made in Taiwan and memory and display components also originate from outside China.

Most of the rest of the iPhone supply chain is in mainland China, and if China were to restrict iPhone production in any way, Goldman does not expect Apple would be able to move much volume outside the country on short notice.

Goldman, which has a neutral rating on Apple’s stock, lowered the company’s price target to US$178 from US$184, maintaining the broker’s position among the more bearish Street analysts.