If you owned Apple Inc., 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.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows the total market capitalization of all public companies in the world’s largest country slipped below that of the world’s most-valued company for the first time on record. The gap, at $121 billion on Nov. 12, is about the price of 143 million contract-free 64-gigabyte iPhones, based on Apple Store prices.
The value of Russian equities has slumped $234 billion to $531 billion this year, while Apple gained $147 billion to $652 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The technology company’s innovation and brand value attract investors, while Russia’s political conflicts, sanctions and the threat of economic stagnation next year make them nervous, according to Vadim Bit-Avragim, a portfolio manager who helps oversee about $4 billion at Kapital Asset Management LLC in Moscow.
“Apple works with shareholders to maximize returns and is based where property is protected by law,” Bit-Avragim said. “In Russia, the legislative protection for property is not as good, most state-run companies have poor corporate governance, resources are concentrated in state hands and borrowing costs are shooting up. After all this, when you get involved in conflicts with your neighbors, it becomes very hard to persuade investors from all over the world to invest here.”
Russia faces a 70 percent chance of recession in the next 12 months, economists surveyed by Bloomberg project. The country is buckling under sanctions punishing its involvement in Ukraine, while a plunging ruble stokes inflation and the sinking oil price erodes export revenue.
Russia, the 20th largest among the world’s major markets, is not the only one Apple has surpassed. The company, which forecasts a record holiday-sales quarter and has $155 billion in cash, is also bigger than 17th-ranked Singapore and 18th-ranked Italy.