Saudi Arabia’s central bank agrees Ripple blockchain deal

Blockchain-based company Ripple plans to help banks in the Kingdom improve their payments infrastructure. (Reuters)
Updated 15 February 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s central bank agrees Ripple blockchain deal

LONDON: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has signed an agreement with blockchain-based company Ripple to help banks in the Kingdom improve their payments infrastructure.
The pilot program is the first of its kind to be launched by a central bank. Participating banks from Saudi Arabia will use Ripple’s ‘xCurrent’ software solution to instantly settle payments sent into and out of the country.
SAMA’s use of xCurrent has the potential to radically shift how banks in Saudi Arabian send money globally.
According to a statement from Ripple, its Saudi Arabian customers will experience “faster, cheaper and more transparent cross-border transactions.”
SAMA’s recent adoption of xCurrent, makes it the second central bank to use blockchain technology to revolutionize payments, following the Bank of England’s successful proof of concept with Ripple in 2017.
Dilip Rao, the global head of infrastructure innovation at Ripple, believes the agreement with SAMA is part of a wave of recognition by financial institutions of the impact blockchain solutions can have on payments.
“Central banks around the world are leaning into blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers,” said Rao. “SAMA is leading the charge as the first central bank to provide resources to domestic banks that want to enable instant payments using Ripple’s innovative blockchain solution.”


Oil prices rise on Libyan export interruption, but markets remain weak

Updated 2 min 5 sec ago
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Oil prices rise on Libyan export interruption, but markets remain weak

  • The rise came after crude prices dropped by 3 percent the session before amid ongoing weakness in global stock markets and concerns that slowing oil demand-growth could erode supply cuts
  • Crude futures have lost around a third of their value since early October amid the financial market slump and an emerging oil supply overhang

SINGAPORE: Oil prices edged up on Tuesday after Libya’s National Oil Company declared force majeure on exports from the El Sharara oilfield, which was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
Despite that, overall sentiment on oil prices remained weak amid worries over global stock markets and doubts that planned supply cuts led by producer club OPEC will be enough to rein in oversupply.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $60.19 per barrel at 0336 GMT, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $51.16 per barrel, up 16 cents, or 0.3 percent.
Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) late on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the El Sharara oilfield, the country’s biggest, which was seized at the weekend by a militia group.
NOC said the shutdown would result in a production loss of 315,000 barrels per day (bpd), and an additional loss of 73,000 bpd at the El Feel oilfield.
The rise came after crude prices dropped by 3 percent the session before amid ongoing weakness in global stock markets and concerns that slowing oil demand-growth could erode supply cuts announced last week by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers including Russia.
Crude futures have lost around a third of their value since early October amid the financial market slump and an emerging oil supply overhang.
In a show of no confidence, money managers cut their bullish wagers on crude to the lowest in more than two years in the week ending Dec. 4, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Monday.
The financial speculator group cut its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 25,619 contracts to 144,775 during the period. That is the lowest level since Sept. 20, 2016.
In physical markets, Kuwait and Iran this week both reduced their January crude oil supply prices to Asia
“There remains a lot of uncertainty if the production cut is thick enough to make a significant dent in global supply,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda in Singapore.
“The general risk-off tone in global markets and the stronger dollar ... are contributing to the selling pressure.”
The OPEC-led group of oil producers last Friday announced a supply cut of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude oil supply from January, measured against October 2018 output levels.