A major oil company became the world’s most valuable firm last week, thanks to a largely unexpected series of events that have rocked the global status quo.

“Saudi Aramco overtook Apple Inc. as the world’s most valuable company, stoked by a surge in oil prices that is buoying the crude producer while adding to an inflation surge throttling demand for technology stocks,” write Ryan Vlastelica and Matt Turner of Bloomberg News. “Even if the move proves short-lived and Apple retakes the top spot again, the role reversal underscores the power of major forces coursing through the global economy.” 


The gap in value between the two companies has narrowed and it would be easy to attribute the switch to a momentary change of luck, but that would miss the larger point. The tumultuous events of the past two years have fundamentally shaken many of our most cherished ideas about what constitutes value and what doesn’t.


In the long run, I strongly believe that digital technologies will continue driving and supporting economic growth. Extractive industries such as oil, natural gas and coal aren’t dead, but they are on the wrong side of history. That said, the fortunes of global giants like Apple and Aramco are linked, at least for the time being.


“Soaring oil prices, while great for profits at Aramco, are exacerbating rising inflation that is forcing the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at the fastest pace in decades. The higher rates go, the more investors discount the value of future revenue flows from tech companies and push down their stock prices,” write Vlastelica and Turner.

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