Bitcoin drops below $6,000 for first time in three months

The sell-off on Tuesday was exacerbated by crushing losses on world stock markets, with the Dow on Wall Street suffering its biggest one-day points loss. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Bitcoin drops below $6,000 for first time in three months

TOKYO: Bitcoin plunged more than 20 percent to fall below $6,000 on Tuesday, its latest sharp loss following a series of setbacks, with a global stock market collapse fueling the selling.
The virtual currency fell to $5,992 for the first time since mid-November, according to Bloomberg News, the latest hammering for the cryptocurrency that saw a stratospheric 26-fold rise last year.
Tuesday’s collapse comes just six weeks after bitcoin hit a record high of $19,511, fueled by a flood of speculators looking to make a quick buck.
Since those heady days the cryptomarket — which includes dozens of other units — has been pounded by news of crackdowns by governments including in China, Russia and South Korea, one of the biggest markets for the sector.
On Thursday, India said it would “take all measures to eliminate” cryptocurrencies’ use as part of a payment system and in funding illegitimate activities, while Japanese authorities raided a virtual currency exchange after it lost $530 million to hackers.
Central banks in Europe, Japan and the US have also flagged concerns about the unit. This week several commercial lenders said they would stop allowing their customers to buy bitcoin through their credit cards owing to debt concerns.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda, said “the dynamics behind the moves are regulatory clampdowns and investors losing confidence in crypto.”
The sell-off on Tuesday was exacerbated by crushing losses on world stock markets, with the Dow on Wall Street suffering its biggest one-day points loss and wiping out all its 2018 gains.
Panicked investors are fretting over rising US borrowing costs, leading them to cash in profits after a stellar couple of months that have seen many indexes hit record or all-time highs.
Equities have enjoyed months of surges fueled by optimism over the US economy, corporate earnings and the global outlook.
But while traders have been piling into equities, pushing many global indexes to record or multi-year highs, there has been growing concern on trading floors about elevated US Treasury bond yields — at four-year highs — and the likelihood of fresh Federal Reserve interest rate rises.
“The risk-off tone is hitting Bitcoin almost as hard as a global regulator and bank scrutiny,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader. “The latest dent to the Cryptospace has been banks saying they are shutting down the ability of clients to buy bitcoin with their cards.”
“This could end up a full round trip back into the $1,850/$2,966 region.”


Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

Updated 22 min 27 sec ago
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Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

  • It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level
  • Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage

NICOSIA: Egypt has signed a deal with a Cypriot firm to lay a 310-kilometer (195-mile) cable under the Mediterranean to export electricity to Europe, the company said on Thursday.
Nicosia-based EuroAfrica described the deal, worth an estimated two billion euros, as a “landmark.”
“Cyprus now becomes a major hub for the transmission of electricity from Africa to Europe,” said company chairman Ioannis Kasoulides.
It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level.
Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage.
“The national electricity grid of Egypt will be linked to the European electricity system through Cyprus and will contribute to energy security,” Kasoulides said.
Following the crises in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the EU has been keen to develop alternative sources of energy to reduce its dependence on imports from Russia.
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major new fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, and output is already sufficient to meet domestic needs.
The Arab world’s most populous country is now seeking to develop the infrastructure to export its newfound energy wealth, both as liquefied natural gas and as electricity.
Egypt is also seeking to import gas from fields off Cyprus and Israel to boost the profitability of the new liquefaction and export facilities it is developing on its Mediterranean coast.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build an undersea pipeline to pump Cypriot offshore gas to Egypt for processing for export to Europe.
The plans have led to closer eastern Mediterranean ties, with Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel holding regular high-level meetings.