Threats from China to reduce orders for Boeing (BA) jetliners are seen as having a limited near-term risk to the company, Canaccord Genuity said as the planemaker posted a deep fall in April orders and deliveries.
Chicago-based Boeing said Tuesday that it delivered almost half the number of planes in April than it did the year before in the first full month since its 737 Max model was grounded.
The company delivered 23 planes last month, down from 44 in the same period of 2018. It delivered nine 737s last month, down from 34. April orders for all models fell to four from 76 the year before.
The company in March suspended deliveries of the 737 MAX as regulators around the world grounded the model after it was involved in two deadly crashes in five months. A software issue is believed by regulators and the company to have been a factor in the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people.
The company said deliveries of the 787 rose last month to 12 from eight while 777 deliveries were flat at one.
Boeing shares were up 2.2% in afternoon trading.
Meanwhile, Canaccord Genuity analyst Ken Herbert said in a note sent Tuesday that a newspaper in China, which is perceived as a mouthpiece for the government there, speculated that Boeing may be a target in the continuing trade dispute between the US and China.
Herbert said Chinese carriers have orders for 231 Boeing planes, with 192 being for the 737 Max. There are at least two orders for the 777 and “several” for the 787.
“It is likely that hundreds of additional unassigned aircraft are designed for Chinese customers,” Herbert said. “While the risk is substantial, the lack of significant Chinese orders over the past few years limits the near-term risk of cancellations and exposure relative to the broader backlogs,”
China’s influence over other countries could be a headwind for the sector if the trade dispute deteriorates, he added.
China could shift some orders to Airbus, but “it remains likely that China will continue to need Boeing aircraft to sustain expansion of its growing commercial airline industry,” Herbert said.