Pakistanis own $20bn in cryptocurrencies, more than federal reserves: Report

Pakistanis own $20bn in cryptocurrencies, more than federal reserves: Report
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Updated 26 December 2021

Pakistanis own $20bn in cryptocurrencies, more than federal reserves: Report

Pakistanis own $20bn in cryptocurrencies, more than federal reserves: Report
  • Country recorded ‘abnormal increase’ of 711% in cryptocurrency value in 2021
  • Cryptocurrency, property remained best-performing asset classes this year


KARACHI: Cryptocurrencies and property remained top-performing assets in Pakistan this year, with the country recording about $20 billion in cryptocurrency value in 2021, an amount in excess of current federal reserves, according to new research studies.
The central bank declared in 2018 that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin were not legal tender issued or guaranteed by the government. But despite not being recognized by the State Bank of Pakistan, interest in cryptocurrencies has been on the rise.

The country ranked third in the Global Crypto Adoption Index in 2020-21, after India and Vietnam.

“Pakistan recorded around $20 billion of cryptocurrency value in 2020-21, showing an abnormal increase of 711 percent,” the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s top trade body, said in a new research report. The central bank has not commented on the FPPCI’s findings so far.

Cryptocurrencies have thrived during the coronavirus pandemic, the federation said, adding: “The biggest crypto exchange used by Pakistani investors is Binance, which is headquartered in Cayman Island, whereas other renowned platforms include Localbitcoins.com, Binomo and others.”

About 67 percent of crypto investors in Pakistan use centralized services, whereas only 33 percent use decentralized financing platforms for crypto-related transactions.

The peer-to-peer model for investing in cryptocurrencies works in a way that buyers transfer money directly to sellers, whereas service providers act as intermediaries and provide escrow services to hedge counterparty credit risks.

Traditional international payment instruments, such as debit and credit cards, cannot be used for the purchase of these currencies due to the SBP’s prohibition on financial institutions under its umbrella.

Most investors, therefore, use bank transfers or utilize other means such as JazzCash or EasyPaisa for the purpose, said the FPCCI.

While Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province unanimously passed a resolution to legalize cryptocurrency in December 2020 and formed an advisory committee in March 2021, it acknowledged that the ultimate decision on digital currency could only be taken by the federal government.

The FPCCI has demanded a national cryptocurrency strategy, saying there should be a proper regulatory framework to adopt the new financial ecosystem at the earliest to safeguard people’s economic interests and minimize the vulnerabilities of the new system.

There are more than 5,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation worldwide. These virtual or digital currencies are based on blockchain technology, which is a decentralized ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network.

“Amongst major asset classes used by local investors, cryptocurrency and property remained the best performing asset classes in Pakistan in 2021,” Topline Securities, a major brokerage house in Karachi, said in a report.


Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down
Updated 14 sec ago

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

CAIRO: Egypt will expand its oil storage capacity by 2.52 million barrels at the El-Hamra Terminal — which is managed by Western Desert Operating Petroleum Co..

Located 120 kilometers west of Alexandria, the expansion will comprise four new facilities stretching along 504,000 square meters, each expected to hold a capacity of 630,000 barrels of crude, reported MEED

“The port’s expansion plan aims to turn it into a strategic center on the Mediterranean coast for the circulation of crude and petroleum products,” said Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla in a statement.

Renewable energy

Egypt is determined to become the region’s main exporter and producer of green energy.

Through $40 billion-worth of deals with international companies, projects in the Suez Canal economic zone are expected to flourish in the production of green hydrogen by 2030, reported Egypt today.

Moreover, the Benban Solar Park in Aswan is expected to produce more than 10,000 megawatts by 2023 , disclosed Ayman Hamza, Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy’s spokesman.

Stock market

While the Egyptian exchange index 30 was down by 0.75 percent, EGX 70 and EGX 100 were up by 1.08 and 0.49 percent respectively, reported Egypt today.

This came following sales from Arab and foreign institutions and investment funds, while local companies were purchasing stocks.


Macro snapshot — Lending in China likely to slow down; German economy to lose $265bn

Macro snapshot — Lending in China likely to slow down; German economy to lose $265bn
Updated 8 min 9 sec ago

Macro snapshot — Lending in China likely to slow down; German economy to lose $265bn

Macro snapshot — Lending in China likely to slow down; German economy to lose $265bn

CAIRO: China’s new yuan loans are expected to fall back in July after record lending in the first half, a Reuters poll showed, but they are still likely to exceed the year earlier amount as the central bank seeks to underpin the economic recovery.

Chinese banks are estimated to have issued 1.10 trillion yuan ($162.81 billion) in net new yuan loans last month, less than half the 2.81 trillion yuan in June, according to the median estimate in the survey of 23 economists.

It would still be higher than the 1.08 trillion yuan issued in the same month a year earlier.

German economy to lose $265bn

Germany’s economy will lose more than €260 billion ($265 billion) in added value by 2030 due to the Ukraine war and high energy prices, spelling negative effects for the labor market, according to a study by the Institute for Employment Research.

In comparison with expectations for a peaceful Europe, Germany’s price-adjusted gross domestic product will be 1.7 percent lower next year and there will be about 240,000 fewer people in employment, said the study published on Tuesday.

Romania inflation forecasts

Romania’s central bank has raised its annual inflation forecast for this year and next, but it should still be on a downward trend from the fourth quarter of 2022, Gov. Mugur Isarescu said on Tuesday.

Inflation is being driven primarily by supply-side shocks amplified by the war in Ukraine, he said.

The bank expects inflation to be at 13.9 percent in December, compared with a previous forecast of 12.5 percent.

Inflation hit 15.05 percent in June, a near 19-year high. Isarescu said inflation will start falling from the fourth quarter of this year and return to the bank’s 1.5 percent-3.5 percent target range in the second quarter of 2024.

 

(With input from Reuters) 


Foreign or joint capital constitute 39% of total investments in KSA’s industrial sector, says ministry

Foreign or joint capital constitute 39% of total investments in KSA’s industrial sector, says ministry
Updated 12 min 13 sec ago

Foreign or joint capital constitute 39% of total investments in KSA’s industrial sector, says ministry

Foreign or joint capital constitute 39% of total investments in KSA’s industrial sector, says ministry

RIYADH: Foreign or joint capital represents around 39 percent of the total investments in the Kingdom’s industrial sector, the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources said in a statement.
The announcement showed that foreign investments represent 15 percent of the total number of existing and under construction factories as of May 2022.

It said the figures are indicative of the Kingdom’s ability to attract qualitative investments in various economic sectors.

The number of factories with foreign investment in Saudi Arabia reached 839 by the end of May, representing approximately 8 percent of the total number of factories in the Kingdom, with investments estimated at over SR65 billion ($17 billion).

The number of joint factories stood around 787 with investments estimated at over SR464 billion.


Saudi Cabinet authorizes ministers to discuss agreements with Thailand in energy, tourism sectors

Saudi Cabinet authorizes ministers to discuss agreements with Thailand in energy, tourism sectors
Updated 09 August 2022

Saudi Cabinet authorizes ministers to discuss agreements with Thailand in energy, tourism sectors

Saudi Cabinet authorizes ministers to discuss agreements with Thailand in energy, tourism sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet on Tuesday authorized the ministers of energy and tourism to discuss with Thailand a draft cooperation agreement in their respective fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The council of ministers also approved an initial agreement on cooperation in the field of labor between Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.

The Cabinet also approved two memorandums of understanding between Saudi Arabia and France in the field of railways.

The council has also endorsed an initial agreement between Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics and the UK’s Office for National Statistics to boost cooperation.

The Saudi Cabinet also discussed the decisions taken at the recent OPEC+ ministerial meeting to amend the production level for the month of September 2022 stressing the need for full compliance with the specified production quotas.

It added that the stability and balance of the oil market is one of the pillars of the Kingdom’s energy strategy, as oil is an important element in supporting the growth of the global economy. 


China In-Focus — Shares edge up; Luckin plans store expansion; Asian giant forecasts 6m electric cars sale

China In-Focus — Shares edge up; Luckin plans store expansion; Asian giant forecasts 6m electric cars sale
Updated 09 August 2022

China In-Focus — Shares edge up; Luckin plans store expansion; Asian giant forecasts 6m electric cars sale

China In-Focus — Shares edge up; Luckin plans store expansion; Asian giant forecasts 6m electric cars sale

RIYADH: China shares edged up on Tuesday, led by energy and renewable energy stocks, while gains were capped as COVID-19 outbreaks and tensions with the US weighed on sentiment.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2 percent, to 4,156.29, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 3,247.43 points.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.2 percent, to 20,003.44, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.4 percent, to 6,794.77 points.

China’s Luckin plans store expansion, remains committed to US market

Two years after it was forced to withdraw from the Nasdaq for an accounting fraud, China’s Luckin Coffee believes it has emerged from its “darkest moment,” and said it remains committed to US capital markets as it expands its stores and sales.

Luckin admitted in 2020 that about $310 million of its sales were fabricated in the previous three quarters, bringing the coffee maker to the brink of collapse after having blazed a trail as a homegrown challenger to US coffee giant Starbucks.

“That was Luckin’s darkest moment. The company was facing a huge crisis at the time,” David Li, chairman and CEO of Chinese private equity firm Centurium Capital, told Reuters, referring to the accounting fraud.

China electric car sales to hit 6 million

The China Passenger Car Association has raised the forecast of electric car sales from 5.5 million to 6 million this year, Bloomberg reported.

The association raised its forecast after deliveries of new-energy vehicles more than doubled in July to around 486,000 units, thus accounting for 26.7 percent of the overall automobile market.

PCA also revealed that overall passenger vehicle sales rose 20 percent in July to 1.84 million units compared to the same period last year. 

(With input from Reuters)