Regulator unveils plan to monitor cryptocurrency threat

A Bitcoin (virtual currency) coin is seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, June 23, 2017. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Regulator unveils plan to monitor cryptocurrency threat

  • “Monitoring the size and growth of crypto-asset markets is critical.." FSB says
  • Plan follows drive by central banks and regulatory bodies to keep cryptocurrencies at bay

GENEVA: A financial regulator on Monday unveiled a strategy to monitor whether cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin pose a threat to world economic stability.
The plan follows on from a concerted drive by central banks and regulatory bodies to keep cryptocurrencies at bay.
In a statement, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), which oversees regulation among G20 economies, said it believes “crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time.”
But, the FSB added, the speed at which cryptocurrencies are spreading, the lack of solid data on their use and uncertainty over which rules apply in the sector should spur major economies to redouble their scrutiny.
“Monitoring the size and growth of crypto-asset markets is critical to understanding the potential size of wealth effects, should valuations fall,” the FSB said.
The framework also calls of an examination of whether cryptocurrencies are evolving from a method of paying for goods and services into a securities product, which individuals are holdings as a savings device instead of a stock or a bond.
The FSB also underscored “the scarcity of reliable data on banks’ holdings of crypto-assets.”
That point serves as a chilling reminder of the 2008 financial crisis, which was made worse by the fact that some banks did not know their level of exposure to securities backed by junk mortgages, even after those mortgages started to fail.
The FSB said an affiliate called the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision was “conducting an initial stocktake on the materiality of banks’ direct and indirect exposures to crypto-assets.”
It warned that the exposure of financial institutions to cryptocurrencies will serve as a key measurement of the “risks to the broader financial system.”
The FSB said it expects its plan will face hurdles from the outset, given the “data gaps” and “lack of transparency” in the sector, especially concerning the individuals trading coins on a daily basis.
The FSB, currently chaired by Bank of England chief Mark Carney, said it will formally present the framework to G20 finance ministers when they meet in Buenos Aires later this month.
The call for tighter monitoring follows major swings in the value of assets like Bitcoin and the constant emergence of new cryptocurrencies, which has raised fears that the unregulated and opaque market could pose a rising threat to investors.


Moody’s raises GDP growth forecasts for Saudi Arabian economy

Updated 18 October 2018
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Moody’s raises GDP growth forecasts for Saudi Arabian economy

  • The Moody’s report released on Wednesday maintained the Kingdom’s A1 rating
  • he agency expects higher oil production to boost the Saudi economy

LONDON: Moody’s has raised Saudi Arabia’s GDP growth forecast for 2018 to 2.5 percent from 1.3 percent as it maintains a “stable outlook” for the Saudi economy.
The ratings agency also increased its 2019 GDP forecast to 2.7 percent, well above the 1.5 percent previously predicted, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Finance said.
Moody’s numbers exceed the forecasts of the Saudi Arabian government for the 2019 budget announced in September.
The Moody’s report released on Wednesday maintained the Kingdom’s A1 rating.
The agency expects higher oil production to boost the economy, but also said developments in the non-oil sector will contribute to stronger GDP growth in the medium and long-term.
Moody’s said the Saudi government deficit for the 2018 and 2019 will hover between 3.5 percent and 3.6 percent, a far cry from its previous expectations of 5.8 percent and 5.2 percent.
Moody’s commended Saudi Arabia’s reasonable control of expenditure, even in the face of higher oil revenues.
“In addition to the moderate funding requirements, the government is able to access ample sources of liquidity, from both domestic or international capital markets and financial reserves. It is unlikely to face problems in financing the fiscal deficit,” the report said.
Last week, the IMF lifted its projections for economic growth in Saudi Arabia saying the Kingdom’s economy is expected to grow by 2.2 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent next year, raising previous projections by 0.5 percent.