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BP profits surge 71 percent amid oil price rally

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“I think what you’re seeing coming through those earning numbers is an improved ramp-up of the projects … underlying production growth in the upstream of around 14 percent and a resilient downstream,” Brian Gilvary, chief financial officer at BP, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Tuesday. Upstream is classed as the exploration and production aspects of the oil industry.

“So overall a strong set of results this quarter,” he added.

The latest figures come at a time when the environment for oil companies is dramatically improving, amid signs the energy market is rebalancing and crude futures have rallied to multi-year highs.

The main driver for a recent uptick in oil prices has been a supply cut from major oil producing group OPEC and its allied partners, who started to withhold output in January last year. The production cuts are scheduled to continue throughout 2018.

The move has helped to stabilize crude futures and support oil companies in recent quarters. Brent crude traded at $74.81 a barrel on Tuesday morning, up 0.1 percent, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $68.71 a barrel, 0.2 percent higher.

“We expect improving earnings and cash generation to show through early 2018 as BP captures higher commodity prices and widening crude spreads,” Biraj Borkhataria, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a research note Tuesday.

“We expect BP’s cash flow generation to improve this year, both on an absolute basis and relative to peers. This should help improve confidence around BP’s dividend,” Borkhataria added.

On Thursday, Shell reported a 42 percent rise in profits during the first three months of the year, underpinned by a recent uptick in oil and gas prices. The Anglo-Dutch firm said steady progress in its divestment program had helped the company beat analyst expectations, though some external observers were concerned about its cash flow generation.

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Qualcomm chip market share plunges in China after U.S. sanctions on Huawei

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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chip will be used in premium Android devices that could cost over $1000.

Qualcomm

Qualcomm’s market share of China’s smartphone chip market plunged in 2020 due to U.S. sanctions on Huawei, according to a new report.

As a result, the country’s domestic mobile players turned to alternatives such as Taiwan’s MediaTek, according to CINNO Research.

Last year, 307 million smartphone so-called system on chips (SOC) were shipped in China, down 20.8% year-on-year, the report said.

SOC is a type of semiconductor that contains many components required for a device to work on a single chip, such as a processor. They are a critical component for smartphones.

Qualcomm’s shipments in China shrank 48.1% year-on-year, CINNO Research said without releasing details on the number of Qualcomm chips shipped. The U.S. giant’s market share in China fell to 25.4% in 2020 versus 37.9% in 2019.

MediaTek No. 1

Taiwan’s MediaTek benefited from all that pent-up demand. The chip designer took advantage of Huawei and Qualcomm’s woes, and also got major Chinese smartphone makers to use its chips.

“As far as we know, (for) OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi and Huawei, the MediaTek share has increased a lot,” CINNO Research told CNBC in a statement from its analysts.

Huawei is China’s largest smartphone maker by market share, followed by Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi.

Many of these players make phones priced at the mid-range but with high specs. This is where MediaTek has performed well in gaining share.

The U.S. sanctions on Huawei have also forced other Chinese players to look for alternatives should they find themselves cut off from the likes of Qualcomm.

“This (is) not only because (of) the excellent performance of MediaTek’s mid-end platform, but also, it is undeniable that the U.S. has imposed a series of sanctions on Huawei & Hisilicon, forcing major manufacturers to seek more diversified, stable and reliable sources of supply,” CINNO Research said in a press release.

Xiaomi was recently added to a U.S. blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, though its unclear if this will affect their ability to procure certain components.

5G market up for grabs

China is the world’s largest market for 5G smartphones. 5G refers to next-generation mobile internet, and chipmakers are battling it out for a slice of the pie.

“After the first year of 5G, let’s take a view of the changes in China’s smartphone SOC market. It shows that the market pattern has changed from a single dominant Qualcomm company in the 4G era, to a three-party pattern of Hisilicon, Qualcomm and MediaTek in 2020,” CINNO Research said.

Last year, Qualcomm launched a new series of 5G smartphones chips known as the 6 series and 4 series, which could eat into MediaTek’s market share in China.

“Qualcomm launching 6 and 4 series 5G chipset will help to take share away from MediaTek in the fast growing 5G smartphone segment in China,” said Neil Shah, a partner at Counterpoint Research.

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LinkedIn says these are the fastest growing job sectors in the UK

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Biden’s first world leader call to be to Canada’s Trudeau: White House

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday told reporters that President Joe Biden’s first world leader call would be to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“His first call, foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau,” she said during her first press briefing at the White House after Biden’s inauguration.

“I expect they will certainly discuss the important relationship with Canada, as well as his decision on the Keystone Pipeline that we announced today,” said Psaki.

Biden officially revoked the presidential permit that the Trump administration granted to the contentious cross-border oil pipeline project.

The press secretary added that Biden is likely to prioritize speaking with U.S. allies.

“I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies,” she said. “He feels it’s important to rebuild those relationships and to address the challenges and threats we’re facing in the world.”

Psaki was also asked if Biden will be speaking to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, and whether they would discuss possible retaliation to the SolarWinds hack.

Russians were likely behind the hack that breached U.S. government networks, according to a joint statement by several U.S. agencies including the FBI and the National Security Agency.

“I don’t have any plans … to read out for you in terms of a call with President Putin,” she said.

Regarding the SolarWinds hack, she said “we reserve the right to respond at a time and in a manner of our choosing to any cyberattack.”

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