Crypto coins prices seesaw amid growing debate on digital currencies: Market wrap

Crypto coins prices seesaw amid growing debate on digital currencies: Market wrap
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Updated 29 September 2021

Crypto coins prices seesaw amid growing debate on digital currencies: Market wrap

Crypto coins prices seesaw amid growing debate on digital currencies: Market wrap

RIYADH: Bitcoin traded lower on Wednesday morning, by 1.49 percent at $41,846.86, while Ether went down by 2.54 percent to $2,866.96, according to data from CoinDesk.

Crypto exchanges are increasingly running into resistance from local regulators, who want to be able to monitor their operations better.

Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said on Monday that users in Singapore would no longer be allowed to buy and trade cryptocurrencies on its main platform, to comply with local regulation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore this month warned Binance.com that it could be in breach of local laws and should stop providing payment services to the city-state's residents.

From Oct. 26, users in Singapore will no longer be able to deposit fiat currencies, or buy or spot-trade cryptocurrencies on the platform.

In recent months, regulators in Britain, Italy and Hong Kong have said Binance units are not authorized to carry out some activities in their markets, and Malaysia’s financial regulator reprimanded the exchange for operating illegally there

Deposit

While cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said its customers in the US will be able to use the direct deposit service for any percentage of their salary. They can also hold their dollars in dollars or instantly convert them into cryptocurrencies without fees.

“With direct deposit, customers can more easily access our crypto-first financial services and be ready for any trade or purchase,” Max Branzburg, vice president of product at Coinbase, said in a blog post.

“We’re determined to deliver the most trusted full suite of crypto-first financial services to our 68 million users.”

Extreme views

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has spoken out about his stance on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, stating that anyone who borrows money to buy bitcoin is, in his opinion, a fool.

However, Dimon also acknowledged that there is a potential for the crypto sector to increase its value tenfold in the next years.

"I am not personally interested in bitcoin and am not a buyer. This does not mean that the price of Bitcoin cannot reach 10 times its price today in the next five years,” Dimon said in an interview with the Times of India.

Long road ahead

Anthony Scaramucci, CEO of Skybridge Capital, believes that there is still a long way to go for institutional investors to embrace bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general.

He stated in an interview with Bloomberg that according to his experience, most institutions are still not interested in cryptocurrency as an investment and only 10 percent are actively investing in cryptocurrency. While this may be a minority, it is a minority that has some influence.

“The institutions are not there. Anybody who’s telling you there’s institutional adoption into this space is not being totally honest or they’re seeing something that I’m not seeing,” Scaramucci said.


Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022
Updated 12 sec ago

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Saudi Arabia is set for a fiscal surplus of around SR25-SR45 billion ($6.7-$12 billion) in 2022, according to a report from investment bank Al Rajhi Capital.

The Saudi-based firm said government revenues could amount to around SR1 trillion in 2022, made up of SR600 billion in oil revenues and about SR380-SR400 billion in non-oil revenues. 

This forecast goes against that made by the Saudi Ministry of Finance, which expects a deficit of SR52 billion, as shown in its pre-budget statement for 2022.

The ministry’s forecast for revenues was a lower SR903 billion, inducing their expected deficit.

Al Rajhi Capital assumed the same value of expenditures as the ministry, valued at SR955 billion.

Jadwa Investment, another investment bank in the Kingdom, had almost the same forecasts for oil and non-oil revenues, as well as expenditures, for 2022. Its budget surplus expectation was also similar at SR35 billion.

Al Rajhi Capital also said that VAT rates are likely to remain unchanged.

The Ministry of Finance is set to publish its budget statement for 2022 in December.


Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening
Updated 4 min 3 sec ago

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

RIYADH: The shares of Red Sea International Co.'s rose by four percent at 10:55 Riyadh after it signed a seven-year contract worth SR245.8 million ($65.5 million) with Baker Hughes to design, manufacture, supply and operate three camps in the Eastern region to support its oil drilling operations in the region, according to a bourse filing.

Saudi Arabia's stock market traded higher this morning even as concerns about the new omicron COVID-19 strain persisted.

The main stock index, TASI was up very slightly 0.86 percent, reaching 10,854.27 points at 10:55 Riyadh time.

Saudi’s parallel market Nomu almost flat as it's down by 0.13 percent.

Companies news:

Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co.’s shareholders approved the board of directors’ recommendation to increase capital to SR550 million from SR470.66 million through 16.86 percent bonus shares, according to a bourse filing.

This came during the extraordinary general assembly meeting  held on Nov. 30, the company said in a statement on Saudi Stock Exchange, Tadawul.

The capital increase will be executed by granting 0.1686 shares for every one share owned.

The National Agricultural Development Company, or NADEC, announces recent developments relating to the acquisition of the Second Milling Company with OLAM International Limited, Al Rajhi International for Investment Company and Abdulaziz Alajlan & Sons Company for Commercial and Real Estate Investment.

The Saudi Exchange announces that the fluctuation limits for Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. will be based on a share price of SAR 22.00

Saudi Telecom Co., or stc, approved its dividends policy for the next three years starting fourth quarter of 2021


Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
Updated 01 December 2021

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
  • Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

LONDON: Saudi Aramco’s award of $10 billion worth of contracts on its giant Jafurah project has finally fired the starting gun to develop what is thought to be the world’s biggest shale gas field outside of the US.
Having battled with America’s shale oil producers for market share over the last decade, the Kingdom is now adopting the advanced low-cost techniques of its fracking rivals and is set to spend up to $100 billion on Jafurah to rapidly increase its domestic gas production.
The Kingdom is estimated to be sitting on the fifth largest shale gas reserves in the world.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman earlier said the Jafurah gas field will place the Kingdom third in the world in natural gas production by 2030.
But does Saudi Arabia really have the potential to replicate the soaring success of US shale gas development?


Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser certainly thinks so. Announcing the contracts this week, he said: “It is a breakthrough that few outside the Kingdom thought was possible and which has positive implications for energy security, economic development and climate protection.”
Production is scheduled to begin within the next three years. The field will supply cleaner natural gas for domestic use in the Kingdom, along with feedstock for both petrochemical production, and crucially, low carbon hydrogen power.
Jafurah is expected to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s goal of producing half of its electricity from gas and half from renewables as it pursues its 2060 net-zero target. Indeed, Jafurah alone is forecast to replace up to 500,000 barrels of oil a day that would otherwise be used for domestic consumption.
All this serves the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy from crude oil and sharply reduce its carbon footprint, even if the scheme will enable the Kingdom to increase its crude exports.

The Kingdom, however, has no plans to export the gas from Jafurah as Prince Abdulaziz told reporter on Nov. 29 in Dhahran following the announcement of the new contracts to develop the basin.

We will keep our gas to ourselves

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman


But it was thought that fracking in Saudi Arabia will be more expensive than it is in the US, not least because the Kingdom is not renowned with an abundance of natural water, a critical component in the fracking process.
The fracking process requires pumping water, sand and chemicals into the fields at high pressure which fractures the shale rock and allows the hydrocarbons to escape.
“We managed to reduce drilling cost by 70 percent and stimulation cost by 90 percent since the 2014 cost benchmark, while increasing well productivity six-fold compared with the start of the program,” Nasser said on Monday.
Aramco plans to use seawater for fracking at Jafurah. Earlier this year, the company also invited bids for a water desalination plant at the field. Desalinated water is used in gas processing plants. An earlier bidding process was abruptly canceled last year and the current tender process has reduced the capacity of the desalination plant by around 20 percent.

Sadad Al Husseini, former EVP of Aramco


However, former Aramco Executive VP Sadad Husseini insists the “water issue” is a red herring.
He told Arab News: “The water issue was resolved years ago. We have aquifers that hold saline water and the Saudi oil industry has a long history of using this water for drilling.”
Husseini also dismissed cost comparisons with the US shale industry.
He said: “The cost of fracking depends on the depth of the reservoir. In the US, they work with shallower reservoirs, around 3,000 to 4,000 feet deep, which makes fracking less costly. In Saudi Arabia, the reservoirs will be 9,000 to 10,000 feet deep. It’s technically more challenging, but unlike the US, those deep wells are not just producing gas, they’re also producing a lot of condensates, most notably ethane, along with gas, and that is profitable and makes the economics of this field work. Ethane feeds the petrochemical industry.”
He added: “It’s a challenging development but it wouldn’t have advanced if the issues hadn’t been resolved.
Developing shale gas reserves outside the US has not been particularly successful, partly due to environmental concerns - particularly in large population centers in Europe, a lack of infrastructure, and difficulties accessing and disposing of water used in the process.
However, Jafurah is close to the Gulf coast with relatively easy access to seawater, and is also adjacent to the world’s largest oilfield, Ghawar, and its substantial energy infrastructure.
Production at Jafurah is expected to commence in 2024 and is forecast to reach up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of sales gas, 418 million cubic feet per day of ethane and about 630,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates by 2030. Investment over that period will amount to $68 billion, but is expected to total more than $100 billion overall.
Domestic employment, another key plank of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, is also central to the scheme. It is understood that along with fields under development in North Arabia and South Ghawar, the Jufarah project will create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Kingdom.
The scheme will also incorporate new technology, most notably using industrial internet of things and video analytics.
The Jafurah project will not only aid the Kingdom’s environmental ambitions but will also support its petrochemicals industry. “Its ethane and liquified natural gas are highly valuable feedstocks for the Kingdom’s petrochemical’s industry,” the Aramco chief said.

 


China links key to success of African free trade initiative: Egyptian president

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
Updated 30 November 2021

China links key to success of African free trade initiative: Egyptian president

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
  • El-Sisi pointed out the importance of the forum in strengthening joint trade and investment initiatives, including debt relief programs and help for small- and medium-sized enterprises

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has highlighted the importance of working with China to the success of an African free trade initiative.

Speaking virtually during a meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation — attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and a number of African leaders — he said that effective partnership with China was vital to implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

The Egyptian leader noted that under its current presidency of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa organization his country would be looking to attract foreign investment, promote integration between African and foreign private sectors, and expand digital transformation and e-commerce.

In a statement, an official spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency said that forum members had discussed ways to consolidate links between the African continent and China, including cooperation on economic recovery schemes following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

El-Sisi pointed out the importance of the forum in strengthening joint trade and investment initiatives, including debt relief programs and help for small- and medium-sized enterprises to overcome the economic crises brought about by the global virus outbreak.

He told the meeting that further investment in infrastructure projects was needed to complete the continental linkup between African countries and added that it was important to learn from the experiences of other nations in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic through prevention, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The Egyptian president lauded the vaccine manufacturing work of Egypt and China that had seen his country become the first African nation to possess the capabilities to produce vaccines against COVID-19. And he also stressed the need for joint coordination between Africa and China on issues related to strengthening peace and security.

 


ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees
Updated 30 November 2021

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

RIYADH: The Saudi Industrial Development Fund on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Paris-based ENGIE to provide training to the fund’s employees, the SIDF tweeted.

Under the deal, the French multinational utility company will train the fund’s employees at its headquarters in Paris. The SIDF employees will receive training in business development, commercial activities, and project implementation. 

ENGIE operates in the fields of energy, transition, electricity generation and distributions.