Bitcoin falls below $50K mark

Bitcoin falls below $50K mark
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Updated 24 August 2021

Bitcoin falls below $50K mark

Bitcoin falls below $50K mark
  • Survey shows senior executives globally believe cryptocurrency is here to stay

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded lower on Tuesday, falling by 0.83  percent to $49,715.25 at 9:45 AM Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $3,342.03, up by 0.40 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Other news:

According to a new survey of 1,280 senior executives, more than 76 percent of executives globally believe that digital assets will be a strong alternative or an alternative to fiat in the next five to 10 years. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents were of the view that digital assets will be important to their industry in the next 24 months.

While 68 percent said the regulations governing data security and privacy should be changed to enable blockchain adoption. 

Meanwhile, PayPal announced the expansion of its crypto service to the UK allowing customers to buy, sell and hold four different cryptocurrencies on its platform. “Users will be able to transact in Bitcoin 2.77 percent, Ether 3.89 percent, Litecoin 2.12 percent, and Bitcoin Cash 2.88 percent for £1 ($1.40),” PayPal said.

This offer is the first expansion of PayPal's crypto offering outside the US, and the process will begin this week and will be available to all eligible customers within the next few weeks, CoinDesk reported.

Alonzo hard fork is a major upgrade to the Cardano network which is seeing the much-awaited implementation of smart contract functionality.

After the Alonzo update, anyone will be able to create and publish their own smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain, paving the way for native decentralized applications. It is expected to be fully released sometime in the third quarter.

The attacker who hacked more than $600 million from the Poly network released the private key of the stolen cryptocurrency worth $141 million. Poly Network then tweeted thanking the attacker, and also posted a link to an Ethereum transaction confirming that the key worked.

Most of the funds stolen on Aug. 10 have already been recovered, CoinDesk reported.


Egypt’s net foreign reserves rise for 13th consecutive month, hitting $40.9bn

Egypt’s net foreign reserves rise for 13th consecutive month, hitting $40.9bn
Updated 16 sec ago

Egypt’s net foreign reserves rise for 13th consecutive month, hitting $40.9bn

Egypt’s net foreign reserves rise for 13th consecutive month, hitting $40.9bn

Tthe Central Bank of Egypt's net foreign reserves went up by about $60 million in November to hit $40.91 billion, the bank said on its website on Dec. 7.

This reflected an annual growth rate of 4.3 percent, slightly up from the previous month’s expansion of 4.2 percent. 

Net reserves also increased by $1.68 billion since November 2020.

Egypt’s foreign reserves are made up of gold, foreign currency and special drawing rights. The latter is a type of reserve asset that is held by the International Monetary Fund.

In June 2021, the country confirmed its pledge to maintain an adequate level of foreign reserves during the economic reform program to meet the IMF’s metrics for flexible exchange rate regimes. One of those measures is through an accumulation of net foreign reserves.

Egypt’s gross official reserves reached $40.6 billion in June this year, slightly lower than the IMF projection of $41.1 billion revealed in the Fund's country report published in July.

Since June 2021 the country’s gross official reserves have increased by $325 million and reached $40.92 billion at the end of November.


Russia’s Rosneft likely to export gas to Europe

Russia’s Rosneft likely to export gas to Europe
Updated 46 min 43 sec ago

Russia’s Rosneft likely to export gas to Europe

Russia’s Rosneft likely to export gas to Europe

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Rosneft and Gazprom to prepare a proposal for the former to export natural gas from Russia to Europe via pipelines, Interfax news agency reported.

The proposal, if approved, would end Gazprom’s monopoly on gas exports since 2006. The decision will be taken in cooperation with the government and the two energy companies.

According to Interfax, the joint proposal on a pilot project for Rosneft to export of up to 10 billion cubic meters of Russian piped gas to the European market should be submitted to Putin by March 1.

Allowing Rosneft to export gas from Russia will solve the problem with the full load of the Nord Stream 2 and OPAL pipelines, which Gazprom cannot fully use due to the norms of the Third Energy Package of the EU, Interfax said citing the company.

In August, earlier this year, Russia’s Kommersant reported that Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin asked Putin to allow the company to export 10 bcm of natural gas a year through an agency agreement with Gazprom. “The company does not have significant free volumes of gas right now and is planning to significantly increase production only in 2022,” Kommersant said in an article published on Aug. 27 without identifying the source.

In 2020, Rosneft produced 62.8 bcm of natural gas, 6 percent less than in 2019, according to the company’s annual report.

In November 2021, the company’s output of natural gas came in at 4 bcm, down 5.1 percent from October and up 10.8 percent from the same month a year ago, analysts at Renaissance Capital wrote in a research note published on Dec. 6.  


Egypt’s non-oil exports rise by 26% in year-to-October 

Egypt’s non-oil exports rise by 26% in year-to-October 
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 08 December 2021

Egypt’s non-oil exports rise by 26% in year-to-October 

Egypt’s non-oil exports rise by 26% in year-to-October 
  • Exports of chemicals and fertilizers rose by around 42 percent in the same period

Non-oil exports from Egypt reached $21.35 billion in the 10-month period to October, going up by 26 percent compared to the same period in 2020, according to a report by the country’s General Organization for Export and Import Control.

All industrial sectors recorded strong growth rates in the period despite the adverse effects of restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic, news site Mubasher reported.

Exports of chemicals and fertilizers rose by around 42 percent in the same period, hitting $5.36 billion while sales in the food industry grew by 19 percent to reach $3.43 billion.

In addition, outgoing shipments from the engineering industry grew by 43 percent to stand at $2.65 billion for the same January-October period.

Textile exports increased by 25 percent while those of agricultural crops rose by a more modest 8 percent.

In a related development, a member in Egypt's House of Representatives said that the national economy is capable of hitting around $100 billion of exports a year, according to Al Ahram Gate.


Oil dips below $75 as investors assess omicron’s impact

Oil dips below $75 as investors assess omicron’s impact
Updated 08 December 2021

Oil dips below $75 as investors assess omicron’s impact

Oil dips below $75 as investors assess omicron’s impact

LONDON: Oil prices fell below $75 a barrel on Wednesday, taking a breather after strong gains this week, as investors assessed the impact of the omicron coronavirus variant on the global economy and fuel demand.

Brent crude futures were down 83 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $74.61 a barrel at 1113 GMT, after settling 3.2 percent higher on Tuesday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $71.07 a barrel, down 98 cents or 1.4 percent, having gained 3.7 percent in the previous session.

After falling by more than 16 percent since Nov. 25 to around $69 a barrel, Brent crude prices have rebounded by over 8 percent since Dec. 1 on signs omicron has had only a limited impact on oil demand.

“Around two-thirds of the previous price slide (has) been corrected, a downswing that had been brought about by demand concerns sparked by the new omicron variant. These now appear to be exaggerated,” Commerzbank said in a note.

“There has been no noticeable slowing effect on oil demand as yet. Even aviation, the sector that should have been hit first, has seen only a marginal decrease in seating capacity.”

But reports that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was set to tighten COVID restrictions, including advice to work from home, revived fears of a slow down in activity.

The market was also focused on rising geopolitical tensions as talks between Washington and Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program were set to resume this week as Western officials voiced dismay at sweeping Iranian demands.

An easing of US sanctions is expected to lead to higher exports of Iranian oil, which could add downward pressure on oil prices.

Meanwhile, tensions between Western powers and Russia over Ukraine also remained high after President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that the West would impose “strong economic and other measures”on Russia if it invades Ukraine, while Putin demanded guarantees that NATO would not expand farther eastward.

Oil markets reacted little to US weekly inventory data.

US crude stocks fell last week while gasoline and distillate inventories rose, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast US crude inventory data would show a second straight weekly decline.


Saudi stock exchange has 50 IPO applications for 2022, considers SPAC listings

Saudi stock exchange has 50 IPO applications for 2022, considers SPAC listings
Updated 08 December 2021

Saudi stock exchange has 50 IPO applications for 2022, considers SPAC listings

Saudi stock exchange has 50 IPO applications for 2022, considers SPAC listings

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange has 50 applications from companies for initial public offerings next year and is considering whether to allow blank-check companies, known as SPACs, to list, the Saudi Tadawul Group chief executive said on Wednesday.

A SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company, raises money to acquire a private firm with the purpose of taking it public and allowing the target to list more quickly on an exchange rather than via a traditional IPO.

Khalid Al-Hussan, the CEO of bourse owner and operator Tadawul, said the exchange was discussing business models and assessing appetite for SPACs in the Kingdom, but added that no legal framework had been proposed as yet.

“We are looking very closely to this recent development (about SPACs) and we absolutely look forward to add this element to our market,” Al-Hussan said after Tadawul made the debut of its shares earlier in the day.

“We have to make sure that this vehicle is in demand by the investors as well as by the issuers,” he said.

The bourse, which raised about $1 billion through an IPO, priced its shares last week at the top of the range at SR105 each. 

“As far as the market momentum, I think the markets are still very solid, in regards to IPOs. It is just a fantastic time for us,” Al-Hussan said.