Bitcoin tops $66,000 as crypto goes mainstream

Bitcoin tops $66,000 as crypto goes mainstream
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Updated 20 October 2021

Bitcoin tops $66,000 as crypto goes mainstream

Bitcoin tops $66,000 as crypto goes mainstream

RIYADH: Bitcoin rallied to a record on Wednesday, topping $66,000 for the first time, amid a wave of excitement about how the financial establishment is increasingly accepting the digital currency’s rise.

Bitcoin was trading at $66,439, up 5.9 percent, as of 12:40 p.m. Eastern time, after earlier climbing as high as $66,974.77. It has roared back after sinking below $30,000 during the summer to top its prior record set in April. That previous all-time high was nearly $64,889, according to CoinDesk.

The surge has come as more businesses, professional investors and even the government of El Salvador buy into Bitcoin, further broadening its base beyond its initial core of fanatics.

The latest converts came into the world of crypto on Tuesday, when the first exchange-traded fund linked to Bitcoin found huge interest from investors. Shares of the ProShares BitCoin Strategy ETF changed hands 24.1 million times in a resounding debut. It was off to another strong start Wednesday, with volume topping 19.6 million within the first three hours of trading.

The ETF doesn’t invest directly in Bitcoin. It instead invests in the futures market tied to Bitcoin, but the industry sees the ETF bringing in a new class of investors. Someone with an old-school brokerage account can buy the ETF, for example, without having to open a trading account for crypto.

“In July, we publicly predicted that Bitcoin would reach and most likely beat it’s previous all-time highs,” said Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group.

“This fresh all-time high deniably cements Bitcoin as a mainstream asset class.  I believe that most investors should consider including crypto assets as part of a diversified portfolio.”


SISCO’s subsidiary LogiPoint acquires Elite Group

SISCO’s subsidiary LogiPoint acquires Elite Group
sisco.com
Updated 12 sec ago

SISCO’s subsidiary LogiPoint acquires Elite Group

SISCO’s subsidiary LogiPoint acquires Elite Group
  • The transaction is to be funded through bank financing and direct cash investment

Saudi Trade and Export Development Co. (LogiPoint) has acquired Elite Group through Green Dome Investments LLC, according to a bourse filing by its parent Saudi Industrial Services Co. 

The transaction was concluded on Nov. 25, with LogiPoint’s investment in Green Dome valued at SR58 million ($15 million).

SISCO expects the impact of the transaction to be shown in the consolidated financial statements of the fourth quarter of 2021, through LogiPoint.

The transaction is to be funded through bank financing and direct cash investment. 

Elite Group is an integrated land freight and courier solutions provider in the region. 


Bahrain outlook improves on fiscal reforms, S&P says

Bahrain outlook improves on fiscal reforms, S&P says
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 39 min 17 sec ago

Bahrain outlook improves on fiscal reforms, S&P says

Bahrain outlook improves on fiscal reforms, S&P says
  • The agency said it expects the government to benefit from additional financial support from its Gulf neighbours

S&P Global Ratings has revised Bahrain's outlook to 'stable' from 'negative' on the back of new fiscal reforms aimed at improving non-oil revenues and cutting state spending, the ratings agency said in a statement.

Rated below investment grade, Bahrain was bailed out to avoid a credit crunch in 2018 with a $10 billion package from wealthy neighbours, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.


That money was linked to a set of fiscal reforms, but after the coronavirus crisis strained its finances, Bahrain in September postponed plans to balance its budget by two years and announced plans to increase a value-added tax.


"The Bahraini government recently announced additional fiscal reforms to strengthen non-oil revenue and rationalize expenditure. These measures, along with the more supportive oil price environment, should improve the sovereign's fiscal position", S&P said in a statement this weekend.


The agency said it expects the government to benefit from additional financial support from its Gulf neighbors, if needed.


Bahrain will double value-added tax to 10 percent next year, a move which S&P estimated could contribute receipts of about 3 percent of gross domestic product in the next few years, up from about 1.7 percent this year.


The Gulf state is also planning to rationalize operational government expenditure and social subsidies in 2023 and 2024, a move which shifts the focus of its reforms more on the spending side than on raising non-oil revenues.


"We believe there is higher implementation risk in expenditure rationalization as the delicate political and social environment on the island, which has constrained the government's efforts, persists", S&P said.


Bahrain has in the past backtracked on some reforms as its Sunni Muslim rulers feared that austerity moves would bolster the majority Shi’ite-led opposition and stir more of the unrest that rattled the country since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.


How Omicron is affecting Middle East markets

How Omicron is affecting Middle East markets
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 53 min 16 sec ago

How Omicron is affecting Middle East markets

How Omicron is affecting Middle East markets
  • Oil prices stumbled in their biggest decline since April 2020

DUBAI: The new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has prompted global economic concerns, as fears of its spread begin to affect stock markets and oil prices. 

Saudi Arabia’s main market, the Tadawul All Share Index, opened 5.3 percent lower on Sunday, trading near 10,700 points. 

The Dubai Financial Market was down 8.49 percent.

Oil prices stumbled in their biggest decline since April 2020, with Brent prices dropping 11.55 percent to $72.72 per barrel when markets closed on Friday, while WTI slid 13.06 percent down to $68.15 per barrel.

The variant was first discovered in South Africa and had also since been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Israel, the UK, Australia and Hong Kong.

Within the Middle East Israel is the only country to have reported a case of the new variant so far, but some governments in the region have issued travel curbs to prevent the virus from spreading. 

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia expanded the list of African countries where it barred travel because of Omicron, adding Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Mauritius and the Comoros Islands.

The Kingdom earlier halted flights to and from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini.

Other Middle East countries, including the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Jordan have issued similar measures. 


Saudi stock market drops 5.3 as Omicron sparks global concern

Saudi stock market drops 5.3 as Omicron sparks global concern
Updated 53 min 1 sec ago

Saudi stock market drops 5.3 as Omicron sparks global concern

Saudi stock market drops 5.3 as Omicron sparks global concern

Saudi Arabia’s main market, the Tadawul All Share Index, opened 5.3 percent lower on Sunday, trading near 10,700 points.


Aramco prepares work on its largest non-associated gas field

Aramco prepares work on its largest non-associated gas field
Updated 28 November 2021

Aramco prepares work on its largest non-associated gas field

Aramco prepares work on its largest non-associated gas field
  • The Saudi-listed firm claims it to be the “largest non-associated gas field” in the Kingdom

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco is marking the start of its development of the Jafurah unconventional gas field on Nov. 29. 

The Saudi-listed firm claims it to be the “largest non-associated gas field” in the Kingdom. 

The move is part of the Kingdom’s push to commercialize its unconventional resources and expand Aramco’s integrated gas portfolio.