Bitcoin hits new record high as warnings grow

The value of bitcoin has climbed almost 80 percent so far in December. (AFP)
Updated 15 December 2017
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Bitcoin hits new record high as warnings grow

LONDON: Bitcoin blasted to another all-time high of almost $18,000 on the Bitstamp exchange on Friday, up 9 percent on the day, as warnings grew over the risks of investing in the highly volatile and speculative instrument.
The cryptocurrency’s staggering recent price rises — more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year — have driven worries that the market is a bubble that could burst in spectacular fashion.
Bitcoin has climbed almost 80 percent so far in December alone, putting it on track for its best month in percentage terms since December 2013.
On Friday it reached as high as $17,900 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.
While bitcoin has added another fifth to its value since Monday, trading has been slightly calmer than the wild price swings the market has seen in recent weeks, with volatility lower since the launch of bitcoin futures from CBOE Global Markets on Sunday.
Market-watchers said bitcoin’s price was being lifted by the launch of rival CME Group’s bitcoin futures contracts on Sunday.
“The hope (is) that futures signal the unlocking of institutional money into the digital arena and (that there will be) a rapid demand increase and ratification of the technology and its principles,” said Charles Hayter, founder of industry website Cryptocompare.
But outside of the crypto market, worries continue to grow about the amount of money piling into the space.
A study by Anglia Ruskin University, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University released on Friday said bitcoin could pose a threat to the financial stability of traditional currencies and markets.
“Our evidence finds that the price of bitcoin has been artificially inflated by speculative investment, putting it in a bubble,” said Larisa Yarovaya, one of the report’s authors and a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University.
“Although bitcoin is not regulated by governments, it could still have a knock-on effect on traditional markets due to the interconnectedness of cryptocurrency markets with other financial assets.”
Others, however, say bitcoin’s total market size — around $300 billion — mean the impact of any future price collapse would not be large enough to have a knock-on effect on financial stability.
The BBC reported late on Thursday that the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, Andrew Bailey, had warned that bitcoin buyers should be prepared for the possibility that they could “lose all their money.”
Outages on some of the world’s biggest exchanges this week, which left millions of investors unable to access their funds during periods when trading volumes were high, have also fueled concerns about the fragility of the market’s infrastructure.
— REUTERS


SABIC prepares to meet investors to offer bond

Updated 25 September 2018
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SABIC prepares to meet investors to offer bond

  • The Kingdom’s petrochemical giant will be meeting investors in London, New York, Los Angeles and Boston from Sept. 25
  • SABIC has also confirmed the appointment of BNP Paribas and Citigroup as global coordinators on the sale

LONDON: Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) is preparing to offer its dollar-denominated unsecured bond to the global market with investor meetings due to start this week.
The Kingdom’s petrochemical giant will be meeting investors in London, New York, Los Angeles and Boston from Sept. 25, according to a filing on the Saudi stock exchange on Tuesday.
The Saudi company is likely to be keen to tap into the heightened international interest in the Kingdom’s financial markets following the lifting of some restrictions on foreign investors’ activities at the start of the year.
SABIC has also confirmed the appointment of BNP Paribas and Citigroup as global coordinators on the sale, alongside HSBC Bank, Mitsubishi UFG Securities EMEA and Standard Chartered Bank acting as joint lead managers, in its Tadawul note.
The proposed issuance has been well-received so far by analysts with ratings agency Moody’s Investor Service assigning an ‘A1’ rating to the proposed senior unsecured notes to be issued by the financial vehicle, referred to as SABIC Capital II, and guaranteed by SABIC itself.
“SABIC’s A1 rating reflects its strong business position in the chemical sector and its ability to weather industry volatility, particularly given its healthy operational cash flows and conservative liquidity profile,” said Rehan Akbar, a senior analyst at Moody’s, in a note on Monday.

 

The bond is anticipated to be used in part to refinance an existing SR11.3 billion ($3 billion) one-year bridge loan raised in January this year to fund the company’s 24.99 percent stake in the Swiss chemical company Clariant, according to the Moody’s note. All regulatory requirements were completed on this acquisition earlier this month.
Cash proceeds from the bond may also be used to repay a $1 billion bond due on Oct. 3, according to Moody’s.
On Tuesday SABIC confirmed that the bond will be used mainly to refinance “outstanding financial obligations” of the company and its subsidiaries.
Analysts at rating agency S&P Global were also upbeat about SABIC’s outlook, with research published on Monday stating that the company has “strong profitability” via its KSA operations and a “strong” liquidity position.
“The debt issuance is helpful for the credit profile in the sense that it extends the company’s debt maturity profile and strengthens its liquidity position,” said Tommy Trask, corporate and infrastructure credit analyst at S&P Global.
The agency currently assigns the petrochemical firm an ‘A Minus’ rating, with a “stable outlook,” which it said reflects its “view on the sovereign as well as its expectations that SABIC will maintain high profitability under current benign industry conditions.”
S&P Global’s report said margins in the global chemical industry will “largely stabilize in 2018 following several years of improvement, attributable to the increase in commodity chemical capacity.”
However, it also warned that a key risk to credit quality is
the trend for mergers and acquisitions within the sector and the “potential negative impact on credit metrics from funding them with debt.”

FACTOID

SABIC operates in more than 50 countries across the world.