Binance US eyes IPO; NFT craze persists: market wrap

Binance US eyes IPO; NFT craze persists: market wrap
The US affiliate of Binance is eyeing an initial public offering within three years. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 02 September 2021

Binance US eyes IPO; NFT craze persists: market wrap

Binance US eyes IPO; NFT craze persists: market wrap
  • In the non-fungible token (NFT) scene, a new text-based fantasy game is gaining traction.

DUBAI: Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, is back trading above $50,000 after days of decline. It’s up 5.19 percent at $50,074.87 as of 04:18 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether was up 6.33 percent, trading at $3.774.23.

Other crypto news:

The US affiliate of Binance is eyeing an initial public offering within three years, CoinDesk has reported, citing its CEO Changpeng Zhao.

Zhao was quoted saying Binance.US “is just going to do what Coinbase did,” referring to the company’s earlier move to go public.

It comes as the exchange platform struggles through several country investigations against it.

In the non-fungible token (NFT) scene, a new text-based fantasy game is gaining traction.

According to a CoinDesk report, “Loot: (for Adventurers)” has already attracted $46 million in sales and a total market cap of $180 million – in just five days.

Some, including the founder himself, are worried about the sky-high prices of NFTs in the project, describing it as a sign of market unsustainability.

A new survey in Russia found that three out of four investors would rather buy cryptocurrency than gold or fiat.

The Association of Forex Dealers poll saw only a little over 14 percent of the respondents said they would put money into fiat, Bitcoin.com has reported.

The study also showed that even among those who have never traded digital assets, most were already thinking of investing in crypto.

In Iran, the ministry of industries, mining, and trade has denied claims that illegal crypto mining was causing electricity shortages in the country.

“Figures announced by Tavanir seem to be highly exaggerated. The consumption of illegal miners is considerably lower than the 2,000 megawatts estimated by the utility,” the ministry’s Director of Investment Planning Alizera Hadi, was quoted as saying.

American online marketplace Shop.com has announced accepting crypto as payment, Bitcoin.com has reported.

Its COO Steve Ashley said: “Today I’m announcing that Shop.com is going to be offering bitcoin, ethereum, and several other cryptocurrencies through Bitpay,” during the Marter America Worldwide Shop.com 2021 International Convention on Wednesday.


Russian IT firm Softline sets IPO price range, valued up to $1.93bn

Russian IT firm Softline sets IPO price range, valued up to $1.93bn
Softline.com
Updated 4 sec ago

Russian IT firm Softline sets IPO price range, valued up to $1.93bn

Russian IT firm Softline sets IPO price range, valued up to $1.93bn
  • Bookbuilding is expected to be completed on or around Oct. 26

Russian IT company Softline said on Monday the indicative price range for its initial public offering has been set at between $7.50 and $10.50 per global depositary receipt (GDR), valuing the firm at up to $1.93 billion.


Softline, one of several Russian firms planning a market debut, said it plans to raise around $400 million by selling newly issued ordinary shares in the IPO on the London Stock Exchange later this month, with a secondary listing in Moscow.

Russian IPO activity, hit by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, is picking up pace as the economy improves and concerns over fresh Western sanctions fade. The Moscow Exchange expects to hold 10 share listings by the end of the year.

Softline, headquartered in London and operating in more than 50 countries, said the offering is expected to value the company at between $1.49 billion and $1.93 billion.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters the company was targeting a free float of 20-25 percent.

Bookbuilding is expected to be completed on or around Oct. 26.


Softline said certain existing shareholders were expected to offer additional GDRs as an over-allotment option, representing up to 15 percent of the total number of GDRs being sold.


Softline intends to use part of the IPO proceeds to fund acquisitions, it said, part of the company's growth strategy along with organic expansion.

CEO Sergey Chernovolenko has said Softline's strategy also includes developing expertise and expanding within emerging markets.

"Compared with developed markets, GDP growth is twice as fast (in emerging markets) and IT penetration is around 3-4 times lower," Chernovolenko said in a recent interview.

Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan and VTB Capital are acting as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners. Alfa Capital Markets, Citigroup, Gazprombank and Sberbank CIB are acting as joint bookrunners.


China's output growth slows; inflation fears mount in the US and UK: Economic wrap

Updated 47 sec ago

China's output growth slows; inflation fears mount in the US and UK: Economic wrap

China's output growth slows; inflation fears mount in the US and UK: Economic wrap

China's GDP annual growth in the third quarter fell to its lowest level in a year, with the powerhouse recording a 4.9 percent increase compared to 7.9 percent in the previous three months, according to official data.

This was mainly due to the impact of energy shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, major fluctuations in the real estate market and increased pressures on policy makers. 

Meanwhile, the January-September annual growth rate was a remarkable 9.8 percent.

China’s industrial production

The country’s industrial production growth also slowed to a 3.1 percent annual rate in September, compared to the 5.3 percent jump in the previous month. Official data showed that production declined noticeably for cements and automobiles as they fell by 13 percent and 13.7 percent respectively.

For the first 9 months of 2021, industrial output went up by a significant 11.8 percent year-on-year.

Chinese unemployment

China’s urban unemployment rate recorded its lowest level in 33 months as it declined to 4.9 percent in September down from 5.1 percent in August, data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics revealed.

In the first 3 quarters of this year, China has created 10.45 million jobs, slightly below its 11-million target for the whole year.

Supply chain disruptions and inflation fears in the UK and US

A survey of chief financial officers in major British companies revealed that supply chain problems could well persist beyond 2021. 

A majority of the surveyed CFOs think the annual price inflation will continue to be above 2.5 percent in the next two years.

Moreover, a survey of economists in the United States, carried out by The Wall Street Journal, showed that they expect the country to grapple with mounting inflationary pressures into 2022. Again, this is fuelled by global supply chain bottlenecks.

They expect inflation to reach around 5.25 percent in December.

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports

Singapore's non-oil domestic exports increased by 12.3 percent year-on-year in September 2021, jumping steeply from a 2.7 percent growth in the previous month, Statistics Singapore said. 

This was the tenth consecutive month of increase in non-oil domestic exports and was driven by a noticeable recovery in sales of non-electronic products while sales of electronic products continued their increasing trend.


Ford to drive electric transformation at UK car plant

Ford to drive electric transformation at UK car plant
Getty Images
Updated 10 min 35 sec ago

Ford to drive electric transformation at UK car plant

Ford to drive electric transformation at UK car plant
  • The investment includes state support via the UK government's Automotive Transformation Fund

US auto giant Ford on Monday unveiled plans to convert a UK factory into its first electric vehicle component assembly site in Europe.


Ford will invest £230 million ($316 million, 273 million euros) in its Halewood plant on Merseyside in northwest England, the carmaker said.


Production will start in 2024 in a move expected to safeguard hundreds of jobs.


"This is an important step," said Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe.


"It strengthens further our ability to deliver 100 percent of Ford passenger vehicles in Europe being all-electric and two-thirds of our commercial vehicle sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030."


The investment includes state support via the UK government's Automotive Transformation Fund.


Ford earlier this year pledged that between 40 and 50 percent of its global vehicles would be fully electric by the start of the next decade.


British trade union Unite on Monday said that Ford's new investment would protect 500 jobs and potentially create up to 700 new positions.


"This investment is excellent news for the highly skilled workforce at Halewood as it secures the future of the plant," added Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.


Britain plans to ban sales of high-polluting diesel and petrol cars from 2030 as part of efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

                


Nord Stream 2 fills first line with gas ready for export

Nord Stream 2 fills first line with gas ready for export
Getty Images
Updated 18 min 58 sec ago

Nord Stream 2 fills first line with gas ready for export

Nord Stream 2 fills first line with gas ready for export
  • About 177 million cubic metres of technical gas, needed to maintain pressure in the pipeline for future gas sales

The operator of the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on the bed of the Baltic Sea said the first of the project's two lines has been filled with so-called technical gas, while still awaiting clearance to start sales to Europe.


The pipeline, funded by Kremlin-owned energy giant Gazprom and its European partners, is expected to gain certification from a German regulator to begin commercial sales of natural gas, though the approval process could take several months.

About 177 million cubic metres of technical gas, needed to maintain pressure in the pipeline for future gas sales, has been pumped into the pipeline, reaching a pressure of 103 bar.

"This pressure is sufficient to start gas transportation in future," the pipeline's Swiss-based operator said in a statement.

Pre-commissioning steps for the second line are ongoing, it added.

The pipeline project has faced resistance from the United States, which says the pipeline will increase Europe's reliance on Russian energy.

Russia has said Nord Stream 2, which is set to double Moscow's annual gas export capacity in the Baltic to 110 billion cubic metres, could provide relief to the European gas market, which has been grappling with tight supplies and soaring prices.

Moscow says it has played no role in causing Europe's surging gas prices, responding to accusations from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and some members of the European Parliament that Russia had not done enough to increase supplies to Europe. 

 


Wa’ed roadshow continues with $1.8m grant to Riyadh startups

Wa’ed roadshow continues with $1.8m grant to Riyadh startups
Updated 26 min 23 sec ago

Wa’ed roadshow continues with $1.8m grant to Riyadh startups

Wa’ed roadshow continues with $1.8m grant to Riyadh startups

Wa’ed,  the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco, poured a total of $1.8 million (SR6.9 million) in grants to three Saudi startups, during its fourth roadshow stop in Riyadh.