PIF-backed Lucid to start deliveries of EVs with range exceeding Tesla’s in October

PIF-backed Lucid to start deliveries of EVs with range exceeding Tesla’s in October
People test drive Dream Edition P and Dream Edition R electric vehicles at the Lucid Motors plant in Casa Grande, Arizona, US September 28, 2021. (Reuters)
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Updated 29 September 2021

PIF-backed Lucid to start deliveries of EVs with range exceeding Tesla’s in October

PIF-backed Lucid to start deliveries of EVs with range exceeding Tesla’s in October

CASA GRANDE, Arizona: US startup Lucid Group Inc. said on Tuesday it will start delivering luxury electric sedans with a Tesla-beating driving range in late October, posing a major challenge to the market leader whose sales of premium models have stagnated.
The California-based Lucid began production of its long-delayed Lucid Air cars at its Arizona factory on Tuesday, and said it aims to ramp plant’s capacity up to 90,000 vehicles per annum in the next two years.
The top-end Lucid Air Dream Edition will be available in late October, followed by less expensive models: Grand Touring, Touring and Air Pure. The company said it has received more than 13,000 reservations for Lucid Air models, and it has increased the planned total production of the Lucid Air Dream Edition to 520 vehicles.
A version of the Lucid Air Dream Edition, priced at $169,000, received an official US government rating of a 520-mile (837 km) driving range, over 100 miles more than its closest rival, Tesla’s Model S, which is priced at $89,990. The higher range helped lead to a 23 percent jump in Lucid’s shares this month.
Speaking at the production site, Lucid Chief Executive Officer Peter Rawlinson, a former chief engineer on the Tesla Model S, said his company’s cars have an advantage in battery technology and costs over the Model S.
“We’ve ridden customers of the fear of range anxiety,” he said. “The next big obstacle is cost effectiveness of electric cars. We’ve got to get the cost down.”
He said the Air Pure, the least expensive version with a price tag of $77,400, will go into production late next year.

Execution challenge

The company, founded in 2007, received funding from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in 2018 before going public via a shell company in July.
“(20)17 and (20)18 were brutal. The company was in a parlous state. And then I’ve got to say, we met a perfect partner,” he said.
Rawlinson, who left Tesla in 2012, faces tasks similar to those of Tesla in its early days, including how to address manufacturing challenges and scale up production.
“I think the big challenge for Lucid will be execution,” said Sam Abuelsamid, a principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “I think that they have a very good car. It’s very attractive.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in June that Tesla has canceled its plan to launch a Model S Plaid+, with a target driving range of 520 miles, saying the Model S Plaid itself is “just so good.”
Musk reiterated this month that “production is hard.”
“Production with positive cash flow is extremely hard,” he said, citing carmakers’ razor-thin margins.
Tesla’s combined sales of Model S and Model X luxury models stood at only 1,890 in the second quarter of this year, down from 22,300 during the same period three years ago. Tesla does not break out figures for the two high-end models.
“The Model S doesn’t look fundamentally different from a Model S nine years ago,” Abuelsamid said. “In the premium market, customers are looking for the latest and greatest.”
Musk in October 2020 cut the price of its Model S, shortly after Lucid announced the pricing of its base model. “The gauntlet has been thrown down! The prophecy will be fulfilled,” he tweeted at that time.
Electric vehicle maker Rivian, backed by Amazon.com Inc. and now preparing for a public stock listing.
That move came ahead of similar expected moves by Tesla, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.


Qatar approves its budget, expects to revenue to rise by 22.1%

Qatar approves its budget, expects to revenue to rise by 22.1%
Updated 18 sec ago

Qatar approves its budget, expects to revenue to rise by 22.1%

Qatar approves its budget, expects to revenue to rise by 22.1%

Qatar has approved its budget for the 2022 fiscal year, the country’s Minister of Finance Ali Al Kuwari said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Revenues are expected to amount to 196 billion riyals ($53.8 billion), a 22.4 percent rise compared to last year’s budget estimates, Asharq reported. 

Estimates for the budget were made while assuming oil prices to be $55 per barrel during the year on the back of healthier global energy prices.

Additionally, expenditures are predicted to hit 204.3 billion riyals, growing by an annual rate of 4.9 percent.

This will lead to a budget deficit of 8.3 billion riyals. Al Kuwari added that this deficit will be addressed through current monetary balances and the issuance of local and foreign debt instruments if needed.

EU’s economy

Output in the EU expanded by a quarterly rate of 2.1 percent in this year’s third quarter, according to preliminary estimates by Eurostat. 

Austria experienced the highest rise in activity, recording an economic growth rate of 3.9 percent. France and Portugal came next, as their economies widened by 3 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Household consumption mainly drove the production’s rise in the region, going up by 4 percent, accelerating from the previous quarter’s 3.7 percent expansion. 

Government final consumption expenditure climbed by 0.3 percent while gross fixed capital formation declined by 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, employment growth reached 0.9 percent in the third quarter of 2021 when compared to the previous quarter.

In addition, the euro area’s Indicator of Economic Sentiment improved by 0.9 points in December to hit 26.8 points, Zew, a Germany economic policy institute, said. 

However, the outlook was different for Germany, as its sentiment indicator fell by 1.8 points to reach 29.9 points. Deteriorations caused by the pandemic, as well as supply chain disruptions, are dragging the German economy down, the Mannheim-based firm noted.

Economic expectations also fell, signalling that forecasts about healthy short-term growth are not gaining momentum.

Moreover, the country’s industrial production went up by a monthly rate of 2.8 percent in October, preliminary estimates by Germany’s Federal Statistics Office showed.

In particular, production of capital goods widened by 8.2 percent while output of intermediate goods dropped by 0.4 percent.

Japan’s household spending

Household spending in Japan continued to fall, on an annual basis, for the third month in a row. This was attributed to weak consumer sentiment that is still recovering from the pandemic.

Spending by the sector dropped by a yearly rate of 0.6 percent in October, compared to a 1.9 percent fall in the previous month.

The country’s government recently introduced a $490 billion stimulus package to boost the economy, unlike other countries that are starting to roll back on their spending programs, Reuters reported.

Australia’s monetary policy

Australia’s central bank maintained its monetary policy and interest rate unchanged. The decision was driven by concerns over omicron, the new coronavirus variant.

The country’s interest rate remained at 0.1 percent, according to Bloomberg. The bank noted that it will raise interest rates when inflation reaches its target of 2-3 percent.

The bank added that the labor market and economy are experiencing upturns.

China’s trade

Exports and imports in China grew annually by 22 percent and 32 percent in November when compared to a year earlier, reaching all-time records.

Yet, exports growth slowed down due to a thinning demand and a rise in costs.


Yemeni rial bounces back as central bank restructured

Yemeni rial bounces back as central bank restructured
Updated 2 min 1 sec ago

Yemeni rial bounces back as central bank restructured

Yemeni rial bounces back as central bank restructured

AL-MUKALLA: The Yemeni rial recovered on Tuesday by roughly 30 percent hours after the Yemeni president reshuffled the country’s central bank board in a bid to rein in the rapid currency devaluation. 

Local moneychangers told Arab News that the Yemeni rial began bouncing back on Monday night when President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi dismissed the governor of the Aden-based central bank and his deputy. 

By Tuesday morning, the Yemeni currency rose from 1,700 to 1,100 against the dollar before dropping again to 1,250 in the afternoon. 

The rial has rapidly tumbled during the past couple of weeks, reaching a historic record low of 1,750 this week, compared to 215 in early 2015. 

Yemen’s president appointed Ahmed bin Ahmed Ghaleb as the new governor and head of the central bank’s administrative board. Mohammed Omer Banaja was appointed his deputy. 

The official news agency reported that the president authorized the Central Agency for Control and Accountability to monitor the bank’s current and previous financial activities. 

Four previous central bank chiefs, all appointed Hadi, failed to prevent the rial’s plunge despite their expertise and strong educational backgrounds.

The central bank had closed dozens of exchange firms and shops that violated the bank’s monetary rules and were involved in speculative activities on foreign currency. The central bank also ordered banks in the Houthi-controlled areas to move offices and operations to Aden, or face punitive measures and provided fuel and food importers with dollars. The rial continued losing value against the dollar, as several blacklisted firms and banks continued operations  in the Houthi-controlled Sanaa.

Mustafa Nasr, director of the Economic Media Center, has urged local and international support to the bank’s new administration to succeed in putting into place economic policies and also demanded resuming the flow of oil and gas exports and reviving money-generating state bodies. “

Richard Oppenheim, British ambassador to Yemen, said the reshuffle of the bank’s administrative board would help the Yemeni government carry out vital reforms to steady the economy.


Bezos donates $443m to fight climate change 

Bezos donates $443m to fight climate change 
Updated 24 min 26 sec ago

Bezos donates $443m to fight climate change 

Bezos donates $443m to fight climate change 

JEDDAH: Jeff Bezos has handed over $443 million to climate organizations as part of his $10 billion commitment to tackle global warming.

About $130 million is allocated to help the Justice40 initiative, an environmentally focused effort by President Joe Biden’s administration, according to Bloomberg.

Another $261 million will fund a plan to protect 30 percent of land and sea by 2030, concentrating on the Congo Basin and tropical Andes. 

The world’s second-richest person gave out $791 million to 16 organizations last year, promising to distribute the full $10 billion amount by 2030, Bloomberg reported.


UAE’s Chimera invests $100m in Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris’ Gemini 

UAE’s Chimera invests $100m in Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris’ Gemini 
Updated 36 min 17 sec ago

UAE’s Chimera invests $100m in Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris’ Gemini 

UAE’s Chimera invests $100m in Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris’ Gemini 

RIYADH: Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has announced a $100 million deal with Abu Dhabi’s Chimera for investment in Egypt’s real estate.

Through its subsidiary, Chimera subscribed to a capital increase in Egypt’s Gemini Global Development in return for acquiring a minority stake in the company, Asharq reported.

This capital increase aims to develop and expand the real estate activities of Gemini Global Development Egypt through Ora Developers.

Naguib Sawiris said Ora Developers has always aimed to search for opportunities that expand their offerings to a larger base of customers in various markets, while partnering with global investors, contractors and retailers. 

“Through this partnership, Chimera continues to grow and further enhance its global portfolio by investing in a prominent player operating in a high growth sector in Egypt,” Chimera Chairman Syed Basar Shueb said. 


BitMart pledges to compensate users for $150m hack: Crypto Wrap

BitMart pledges to compensate users for $150m hack: Crypto Wrap
Updated 58 min 18 sec ago

BitMart pledges to compensate users for $150m hack: Crypto Wrap

BitMart pledges to compensate users for $150m hack: Crypto Wrap

RIYADH: Crypto exchange BitMart has experienced a security breach that has led to hackers withdrawing around $150 million in cryptocurrency, Bloomberg reported.

Blockchain security firm PeckShield estimates the total loss could run as high as $200 million.

Last week, BitMart closed a Series B funding round led by New York-based private equity firm Alexander Capital Ventures that valued the crypto exchange at more than $300 million.

BitMart will use its own funding to compensate users affected by this hack, according to CEO Sheldon Xia's tweet.

“No user assets will be harmed,” he tweeted, adding the company expects to resume deposit and withdrawal functions on Tuesday.

Also last week, crypto lender Celsius network, which has raised funds from major investors including Canadian pension fund Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, confirmed that it lost funds as a result of the hack of BadgerDAO, a decentralized finance platform.

Mining

Authorities in Russia and Ukraine have shut down a number of farms involved in the illegal mining of cryptocurrencies allegedly powered by stolen electricity.

"An audit revealed an unauthorized connection to the power grid, theft of electricity and illegal seizure of land for the operation of equipment designed to perform cryptographic calculations related to the mining of digital currencies," Ekaterina Korotkova from the Moscow Interregional Transport Prosecutor’s Office said.

The cost of illegally consumed electricity used to operate mining equipment exceeds 500,000 rubles per day ($7,000), Korotkova explained.

The authorities have filed a criminal case and intend to prosecute the owners of the crypto-mining facility.

Trading

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded higher on Tuesday, rising by 5.39 percent to $51,010 at 4:43 p.m Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $4,355, up 7.47 percent, according to data from Coindesk.