Here’s a different take on the China problem: weak Apple iPhone sales in late 2018 did not presage an Asia-led global downturn. Canny Chinese consumers instead bought jewellery and traditional watches. Swiss luxury group Richemont reports its mainland China units grew sales at a double-digit pace in the final quarter of 2018. That was an acceleration from “high single-digit” expansion in the six months to September. Take that, Apple. The US group this month blamed economic weakness in China for a revenue warning. Richemont’s riposte strengthened the case that China’s slowdown has been overdone. Sparklier jewellery sales in mainland China offset gloomier news from Europe, especially France. The Paris fashion is for “high-vis” yellow vests, not discreet Cartier watches. Street protests closed shops on six Saturdays. Overall, sales slowed less than expected. Even so, Richemont’s share price remains 25% down on a year ago. Do not expect Richemont to rebound quickly, however. This recent...

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