Bitcoin hits $60,000 for first time in six months on ETF regulation report: crypto wrap

Update Bitcoin hits $60,000 for first time in six months on ETF regulation report: crypto wrap
Bitcoin is the world's most traded cryptocurrency. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 16 October 2021

Bitcoin hits $60,000 for first time in six months on ETF regulation report: crypto wrap

Bitcoin hits $60,000 for first time in six months on ETF regulation report: crypto wrap

RIYADH: Bitcoin hit $60,000 for the first time in six months on Friday, nearing its record high, with traders growing confident that US regulators would approve the launch of the first US exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on its futures contracts, Reuters reported.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, rose 4.5 percent to its highest level since Apr. 17 and was at $59,787.37 at 4:43 p.m. Riyadh time.

It has risen by more than half in value since September 20 and is now close to its all-time high of $64,895.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the US. bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading next week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

“It is clear that the recent spike in bitcoin's price is directly related to the rumour that the SEC will move ahead with the US first Bitcoin ETF approval, said Mikkel Morch, executive director and risk management at crypto hedge fund ARK36. "It is becoming increasingly likely that at least one of the major contenders for a BTC futures ETF, such as Valkyrie or Van Eck, could be approved in the coming days and ahead of SEC's hard November deadlines."

The crypto market involves many tokens which may be unregistered securities and leaves prices open to manipulation and millions of investors vulnerable to risks, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has previously said.

Proposals by ProShares and Invesco are based on futures contracts and were filed under mutual fund rules that Gensler has said provide "significant investor protections", a Bloomberg report revealed, citing people familiar with the matter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled tolerance of cryptocurrencies, but is still not convinced they can replace the US dollar in settling oil trades.

“I believe that it has value,” he told CNBC in an interview at the Russian Energy Week event in Moscow Wednesday, the transcript of which was posted on the Kremlin’s website.

“It is legitimate and can be used in settlements, no doubt about that, but it is too early to use it for trading in oil or other raw materials and energy sources,” he said.

This comes after repeated warnings from the Bank of Russia that the crypto market is extremely volatile, and digital currencies are not allowed to be used for domestic payments.

Putin made it clear that contracts dominated in crypto would be a premature step as they are not stable.

In order to mine crypto, you need a lot of energy, and for that people have to use traditional sources of energy, primarily hydrocarbons, he said.

Russia has sought alternatives to trading in dollars since being slapped with sanctions in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea.

Crypto backers argue decentralized money will eventually replace fiat currencies issued by central banks.


Oil jumps $3 as OPEC+ weighs biggest output cut since 2020

Oil jumps $3 as OPEC+ weighs biggest output cut since 2020
Updated 03 October 2022

Oil jumps $3 as OPEC+ weighs biggest output cut since 2020

Oil jumps $3 as OPEC+ weighs biggest output cut since 2020

RIYADH: Oil prices jumped $3 a barrel on Monday as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, considered reducing output by more than 1 million barrels per day to buttress prices with what would be its biggest cut since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude futures for December delivery rose $2.99 to $88.13 a barrel, a 3.5 percent gain, by 12:50 p.m. ET (1650 GMT). US West Texas Intermediate crude rose $3.33, or 4.2 percent, to $82.82 a barrel.

Citing OPEC+ sources, Reuters reported that the organization is planning an output cut of more than 1 million bpd ahead of its meeting in Vienna on Oct.05 to decide on the next phase of the production policy. 

It should be also noted that the upcoming meeting on Wednesday will be the first in-person meeting of OPEC ministers since 2020, which clearly indicates its significance. 

If the meeting agrees to the output cut, it will be the organization’s second consecutive monthly cut after reducing output by 100,000 bpd last month.

“If OPEC+ does decide to cut output in the near term, the resultant increase in OPEC+ spare capacity will likely put more downward pressure on long-dated prices,” energy consultancy FGE said in a note, as reported by Reuters. 

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, on Sept. 28 had cut its 2023 oil price forecast due to expectations of weaker demand and a stronger US dollar. 

Analysts at Goldman Sachs now see Brent crude averaging $100 a barrel from October to December and $108 a barrel in 2023, down from the previous prediction of $125 for both time periods. 

Post the Ukraine conflict, oil prices had rallied to over $120 a barrel, as the western allies led by the US and EU weaned themselves from Russian oil imports. 

Oil prices, however, have been tumbling since July, as the pandemic lockdown in China negatively impacted the demand, along with a surging US dollar weighed on global financial markets. 

Goldman Sachs said a production cut under consideration by OPEC+ was justified by the sharp decline in oil prices from recent highs and supported its bullish view.

“We reiterate both our bullish oil view as well as our preference for long crude timespread positions into year-end,” the bank’s commodities research division wrote in note on Monday.

Despite one of the tightest markets in recorded history, Goldman said the cut could be justified by the 40 percent decline in prices from their June peak and enabled by the lack of supply elasticity, given slowing shale activity and exhausted spare capacity.

“The collapse in investor participation, driving liquidity and prices lower, is also a likely strong catalyst for such a cut, as it would increase the carry in oil and start to claw back investors who have instead turned to USD cash allocation following the aggressive Fed hikes.”


Strong growth primarily driven by economic reforms, says Saudi finance minister


Strong growth primarily driven by economic reforms, says Saudi finance minister

Updated 03 October 2022

Strong growth primarily driven by economic reforms, says Saudi finance minister


Strong growth primarily driven by economic reforms, says Saudi finance minister

  • Al-Jadaan lays emphasis on establishing a Gulf common market for the benefit of citizens

RIYADH: Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council are keen to see the group achieve “the highest levels of economic integration,” said Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan.

He was speaking at the 117th Meeting of the GCC Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee in Riyadh on Monday. 

Al-Jadaan stressed the importance of establishing a Gulf common market for the benefit of the GCC citizens.

He said the economies of the GCC countries are not immune from the effects of the economic crises the world is going through but they tackle such issues by adopting a proactive approach. 

“Yes, we are benefiting from higher oil prices, but the strong growth we are seeing is primarily driven by the reforms we have implemented,” he said. 

The Saudi finance minister said the global economy is facing major headwinds, while the effects of the epidemic remain, supply chain issues persist, energy and food markets are in turmoil, with inflation rising to its highest levels in several years. 

He stressed the need for tightening monetary and financial conditions.

Saudi Arabia is expecting its budget surplus in 2022 to hit SR90 billion ($24 billion), and another SR9 billion next year, the Ministry of Finance announced last week.

Looking at the full year 2022 projections, the real gross domestic product is expected to grow by 8 percent, while the inflation in 2022 may record about 2.6 percent.


MENA Project Tracker — Egypt starts new gas project; Oman requests bids for port

MENA Project Tracker — Egypt starts new gas project; Oman requests bids for port
Updated 03 October 2022

MENA Project Tracker — Egypt starts new gas project; Oman requests bids for port

MENA Project Tracker — Egypt starts new gas project; Oman requests bids for port

RIYADH: The offshore arm of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. has received a commercial bid from a Saipem-led team on its $1 billion Umm Sheriff Gas Cap condensate development project, reported MEED.

ADNOC Offshore has single-sourced bids from the Italian-based consortium — which also includes China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Co.— to speed up the highly delayed engineering, procurement, and construction phase.

Egypt to begin work on a new gas project

Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla has announced the approval of a project to connect the Raven offshore gas field to the El-Amriya onshore processing plant, reported MEED.

The project will include many different phases, and act as a link between the Raven field and the butane extraction plant, which is operated by the Egyptian Natural Gas Co.

After its completion, the butane plant will receive 100 million cubic feet a day of gas from the Raven field — reaching its maximum capacity, according to Gasco Chairman Yasser Salah El-Din.

Oman requesting bids on development of new port

Oman has requested bids for the development and operations of its Dhalkut Port in the Southern Dhofar Governorate as part of plans to grow its maritime trade, according to Zawya.  

The project will be tendered under a “develop, manage and operate” contract, where both local and foreign firms will be given a chance to bid.

The deadline for the project bids is Oct. 16.

“Bids must be submitted by local and international companies which have experience in port operation and management,” the statement said.


UAE In-Focus — DMCC named Global Free Zone of the Year for eighth consecutive time

UAE In-Focus — DMCC named Global Free Zone of the Year for eighth consecutive time
Updated 03 October 2022

UAE In-Focus — DMCC named Global Free Zone of the Year for eighth consecutive time

UAE In-Focus — DMCC named Global Free Zone of the Year for eighth consecutive time

DUBAI: Dubai Multi Commodities Center has been named the Global Free Zone of the Year 2022 by the Financial Times specialist editorial team and independent judges.

It is the eighth consecutive year that the Financial Times fDi Magazine has recognized Dubai’s authority on commodities trade and enterprise, the statement added.

Award winners are selected based on a comprehensive set of criteria and a review of the free zones’ ecosystems.

Criteria used in making judgments this year included the effectiveness of each free zone’s ecosystems, business and marketing strategies, infrastructure improvements, and COVID-19 response, the statement said.

This year, the DMCC won several awards, including Large Tenant Free Zone of the Year — Global; Large Tenant Free Zone of the Year — Middle East; Middle East Free Zone of the Year; Middle East SME Free Zone of the Year; Global Excellence Award for Environmental, Social, and Governance Practices; and Global Excellence Award for Infrastructure Development.

Executive Chairman and CEO of DMCC Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: “Since DMCC was established in 2002, we have had two core goals – create a global gateway for trade, and comprehensively enhance the ease of doing business for our member companies.”

SAFEEN Feeders and Invictus Investment sign strategic agreement

A major contract has been signed between AD Ports Group’s SAFEEN Feeders and Invictus Investment to launch an international dry bulk shipping service, according to a statement.

The two companies will purchase ships through Special Purpose Vehicles — 85 percent owned by SAFEEN Feeders and 15 percent by Invictus Investment.

To operate the service, SAFEEN Feeders and Invictus Investment will form a joint venture. 

Invictus Investment will own 49 percent of the joint venture and SAFEEN Feeders will own 51 percent.

The two companies are expected to invest approximately 463 million dirhams in the vessels.

From September 2022 through June 2023, five ships will be deployed of varying sizes, with additional vessels planned for the future.

This joint venture will serve as the carrier for Invictus’ dry-bulk trading business, which ships more than three million tons of commodities annually, primarily wheat and complementary grains. This business will occupy the majority of the ships’ capacity.

The agreement will also extend its commercial bulk shipping services to other companies worldwide, initially focusing on the Red Sea and Pacific corridors, the Indian subcontinent, and the Black Sea region, but with the ability to ship to anywhere in the world within international navigating limits.

Due to Invictus’ large existing trading volumes, the program is expected to generate strong returns on investment for Invictus Investment, the statement said.

Shuaa Capital

Shuaa Capital has announced that its Kuwait-based subsidiary Amwal International Investment Co. has agreed to sell 51 percent of its stake in NCM Investment for 200 million dirhams ($54.4 million), according to a statement.

Shuaa Capital, a Dubai Financial Market-listed company, said in a regulatory filing that it expects the sale to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.


Albabtain Food sets offering price at $20 for Nomu listing

Albabtain Food sets offering price at $20 for Nomu listing
Updated 03 October 2022

Albabtain Food sets offering price at $20 for Nomu listing

Albabtain Food sets offering price at $20 for Nomu listing

RIYADH: Abdulaziz & Mansour Ibrahim Albabtain Co., known as Albabtain Food, has set its offering price for a direct listing on Saudi Arabia’s parallel stock market Nomu at SR77 ($20.49) per share.

Yaqeen Capital, the financial adviser and lead manager for the transaction, confirmed the news in a bourse filing. 

Founded in 1998 by the AlBabtain family, AlBabtain Food has 11 branches spread across the Kingdom, allowing the company to provide its customers with a high level of services in the region.

The company manufactures a range of products including bread, pastries, and ice cream.