Bitcoin and Ether trade higher; IMF urges El Salvador to abolish bitcoin as legal tender: Crypto Moves

Bitcoin and Ether trade higher; IMF urges El Salvador to abolish bitcoin as legal tender: Crypto Moves
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Updated 26 January 2022

Bitcoin and Ether trade higher; IMF urges El Salvador to abolish bitcoin as legal tender: Crypto Moves

Bitcoin and Ether trade higher; IMF urges El Salvador to abolish bitcoin as legal tender: Crypto Moves

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Wednesday, rising by 4.55 percent to $37,968 at 3:08 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,539, up by 5.19 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Other News:

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday called on El Salvador to change course and stop using bitcoin as a legal tender, citing the significant risks posed by the cryptocurrency.

The small Central American nation in September became the first country in the world to embrace the digital coin, allowing consumers to use it in all transactions, alongside the US dollar.

The call by the Washington-based financial organization came as the cryptocurrency dropped in value amid wider volatility on Wall Street in recent days, undoing much of the gains it had made during a record-setting climb in value last year.

The IMF staff had previously called on El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele to reconsider putting bitcoin at the center of his country's finances.

The latest pronouncement used much stronger language and came from the IMF's board, which is composed of representatives of member governments including the United States.

The board's directors “urged the authorities to narrow the scope of the bitcoin law by removing bitcoin's legal tender status,” according to a statement.

In Tuesday's statement from the board, they noted the fund supports the aim of “boosting financial inclusion” which could be advanced using the country's "Chivo” e-wallet, but warned about the high levels of volatility in the cryptocurrency's exchange rate.

Bitcoin's value has shown some correlation with Wall Street equities, but pressure has also come from China's crackdown on the trading and mining of cryptocurrencies, and also the risk of wider regulatory action from the likes of Europe and the United States.

Analysts also say it faces increased competition in 2022 from rival digital assets like ethereum.

Argentina

Binance, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges by volumes traded, has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Argentinian Football Association, allowing the company to become the main sponsor of all the Argentinian football teams on a global scale.

This agreement is the first one the exchange has inked with a worldwide national team, and will last five years, according to Bitcoin.com.

The agreement also seeks to promote the brand with one of the most successful football teams, offering cryptocurrencies to users and fans who may not have been familiar with these technologies.

“Through this agreement, we hope to support Argentine soccer at all levels and introduce Binance, the crypto world and the blockchain to soccer fans across the country and the world,” Maximiliano Hinz, director of Binance Latam said.

The signed partnership also includes the development and launch of a new fan token that will be released in the near future.

However, the Argentinian Soccer Association had already issued a fan token of its own, in partnership with Socios.com, a fan token company.

The release of the new token was criticized by the Socios platform, which issued a press release announcing its stance on this new deal that AFA signed with Binance.

According to sports media, Socios rejected this new deal, made just nine months after they had signed another deal with them that would last three years.

“We will do everything in our power to prevent this and to protect the rights of fans who purchased $ARG Fan Tokens. We are facing a flagrant breach of contract and we will take all the necessary legal measures to guarantee that AFA fulfills the commitments acquired with Socios.com,” Socios.com said.

The first token was launched on June 15 last year, selling more than 400k tokens at that time.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority — the Jakarta-based government agency known as OJK which regulates the financial services sector — warned Tuesday that financial companies are not allowed to offer or facilitate the sales of crypto assets.

The warning was conveyed by the chairman of the OJK Board of Commissioners, Wimboh Santoso, on the regulator’s official Instagram account.

“OJK has strictly prohibited financial service institutions from using, marketing, and/or facilitating crypto asset trading,” he said.

The regulator also warned the public when investing in crypto assets.

“Crypto-assets themselves are a type of commodity that has fluctuations in value which can go up and down at any time, so people must understand the risks,” the OJK stated.

 


Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat extends gain; Copper buoyed by easing China curbs

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat extends gain; Copper buoyed by easing China curbs
Updated 13 sec ago

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat extends gain; Copper buoyed by easing China curbs

Commodities Update — Gold flat; Wheat extends gain; Copper buoyed by easing China curbs

RIYADH: Gold prices were flat on Thursday, as an elevated US dollar and rising Treasury yields weighed on greenback-priced bullion, with the metal’s outlook already dampened by an aggressive Federal Reserve stance on inflation.

Spot gold held its ground at $1,813.96 per ounce, as of 0512 GMT. US gold futures were flat at $1,813.40. 

Platinum drops

Spot silver was flat at $21.40 per ounce, while platinum dropped 0.8 percent to $927.78.

Palladium rose 0.5 percent to $2,027.38. 

Grains up

US wheat extended gains on Thursday, after India unexpectedly banned wheat exports last week, while the Russia-Ukraine war kept underpinning global grains markets.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 0.89 percent at $12.41-3/4 a bushel.

CBOT wheat had climbed more than 8 percent over the past two days, following India’s wheat ban and reports showing bad condition of US winter crop.

CBOT soybeans edged up 0.95 percent to $16.78-1/2 bushel, extending gains, while corn rose 0.48 percent to $7.85-1/4 a bushel.

Copper inches higher

London copper prices inched higher on Thursday, buoyed by easing COVID-19 restrictions in top metals consumer China, although mounting worries over a global economic slowdown limited gains.

Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.2 percent at $9,254 a ton, as of 0702 GMT, after dropping 1.4 percent in the previous session. 

The most-active June copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange ended daytime trading down 0.3 percent at $10,576.04 a ton.

LME aluminum was down 0.1 percent at $2,853.50 a ton.

(With input from Reuters)


Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether down; Russia to legalise cryptocurrency; Coinbase establishes think tank; Bitso launches in Colombia

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether down; Russia to legalise cryptocurrency; Coinbase establishes think tank; Bitso launches in Colombia
Updated 8 min 46 sec ago

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether down; Russia to legalise cryptocurrency; Coinbase establishes think tank; Bitso launches in Colombia

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether down; Russia to legalise cryptocurrency; Coinbase establishes think tank; Bitso launches in Colombia
  • Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, is launching a global think tank to shape the policy debate around digital assets

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Thursday, down 1.73 percent to $29,293 as of 10:10 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,965, down 3.03 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Russia to legalize cryptocurrency sooner or later: Minister

Russia will sooner or later legalize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said on Wednesday, suggesting that the government and central bank may be moving closer to settling their differences.

Manturov was asked at a forum whether he believed cryptocurrencies would become legal as a means of payment.

“The question is, when this happens, how it will be regulated, now that the central bank and government are actively working on it,” he replied.

“But everyone tends to understand that, sooner or later this will be implemented, in some format or other.”

Russia has plans to issue its own digital rouble, but the government has only recently come round to supporting the use of private cryptocurrencies, having argued for years that they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism.

Coinbase establishes think tank to push policy goals

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, is launching a global think tank to shape the policy debate around digital assets as regulators and Congress explore how crypto-assets should be governed.

The Coinbase Institute will accelerate research on cryptocurrency and Web3 — a decentralized version of the Internet — and spearhead discussions with policymakers and academics on the intersection of technology and finance, said Hermine Wong, director of policy at Coinbase and the director of the institute.

“We’re interested in every area of research that involves the crypto economy and how it is interdisciplinary, how it is connected to our global economy, and so there’s nothing that’s going to be off limits,” she said.

Mexican cryptocurrency platform Bitso launches in Colombia

Mexican cryptocurrency exchange platform Bitso has begun operating in Colombia, its fourth market, where it hopes to accumulate 1 million clients just this month, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Daniel Vogel said.

Bitso is among Latin America’s growing collection of “unicorns” — companies with a valuation of at least $1 billion — and is worth some $2.2 billion, following a 2021 funding round where it raised $250 million.

Bitso will offer customers instant transfers via the PSE payment system, sales of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether, as well as use of its new investment platform Bitso+.

Bitso currently has 4 million customers in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

“With our launch in Colombia we hope to hit 5 million customers and we think we can do that this month,” Vogel told Reuters in a phone interview.

“We see Colombia as a key market for us, which we are entering with this expansion plan from the point of view of our products, hiring people (and) growing in the country — it is a very dynamic market in terms of cryptocurrencies,” he added, though he declined to say how much Bitso would invest in the Andean country.

(With input from Reuters) 


Oil Updates — Crude recovers; Russian firms halt publishing data; SCOR tightens oil sector cover

Oil Updates — Crude recovers; Russian firms halt publishing data; SCOR tightens oil sector cover
Updated 17 min 43 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude recovers; Russian firms halt publishing data; SCOR tightens oil sector cover

Oil Updates — Crude recovers; Russian firms halt publishing data; SCOR tightens oil sector cover
  • SCOR, the world’s fourth-biggest reinsurer, said on Wednesday it would stop covering new oil field production projects from 2023

RIYADH: Oil prices rose on Thursday, recovering from early losses, on hopes that the planned easing of restrictions in Shanghai could improve fuel demand while lingering concerns over tight global supplies outweighed fears of slower economic growth.

Brent crude futures for July were up $1.53, or 1.4 percent, at $110.64 a barrel at 0447 GMT, after falling by more than $1 earlier in the session.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures for June rose 93 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $110.52 a barrel, recovering from an early loss of more than $2. 

Russian firms, entities halt publishing data amid sanctions

Oil pipeline monopoly Transneft has joined other Russian entities in curbing access to trade and financial data, sources told Reuters.

In the wake of Western sanctions imposed on Russia after it sent troops into Ukraine, the central bank said it would allow companies to withhold financial results.

Russian authorities are also allowing companies and banks to conceal information on securities issued and on their contractors.

Apart from Transneft, other companies that have stopped publishing data include Aeroflot, Alrosa, Gazprom, and Lukoil. 

Reinsurer SCOR tightens oil sector cover over carbon emissions

SCOR, the world’s fourth-biggest reinsurer, said on Wednesday it would stop covering new oil field production projects from 2023 unless the company involved had an acceptable plan to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.

The move is the latest by a leading insurer to impose tighter policy conditions on coverage for the oil and gas sector, the main driver of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, as scientists warn faster action is needed on climate change.

It also follows an International Energy Agency report last year which said expansion of the oil and gas industry needed to cease if the world wanted to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average.

SCOR said in a statement accompanying results of the French company’s annual general meeting that it aimed to double the amount of insurance coverage for low-carbon energies by 2025.

“SCOR believes that reaching net-zero can only be achieved by combining climate mitigation and climate adaptation measures, supported by strong engagement with clients and partners, and an active approach to transition,” it said.

(With input from Reuters) 


Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday
Updated 40 min 50 sec ago

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Thursday
  • In line with the Saudi index, stock exchanges of Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, and Kuwait all advanced in the previous session, led by a 2.1 percent gain for Kuwait’s BKP

RIYADH: Saudi stocks nudged higher on Wednesday in line with a rise in oil prices.

TASI the main index added 0.2 percent to close at 12,713, while the parallel Nomu market gained 0.6 percent to 22,832.

Shares of state-owned Saudi Electricity shed 8 percent after posting a drop in first-quarter profit.

In line with the Saudi index, stock exchanges of Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, and Kuwait all advanced in the previous session, led by a 2.1 percent gain for Kuwait’s BKP.

However, Dubai and Oman bucked the trend to close lower, down 0.9 and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Crude prices extended gains on Thursday, with Brent crude up 1.4 percent to $110.68 and US West Texas Intermediate trading 0.8 percent higher at $110.41 as of 9:13 a.m. Saudi time.

Stock news

Gulf Union Alahlia Cooperative Insurance Co. managed to narrow its net loss before Zakat by 64 percent to SR20.4 million ($5.44 million)

Saudi Real Estate Co. received shareholders’ nod to raise capital to SR3.7 billion

United Cooperative Insurance Co.’s net loss before Zakat was trimmed by 26 percent to SR19.9 million last quarter

Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. saw its net profit drop 32 percent to SR9.4 million in the first quarter of this year

Shareholders of Alujain Holding Corp. approved a dividend payout of SR1 per share to be paid for 2022 and 2023

Al-Hammadi Co. for Development and Investment got the Capital Market Authority’s approval to increase capital to SR1.6 billion

Tabuk Cement Co. swung into losses of SR6.92 million in its first-quarter earnings as sales dropped

SABB Takaful Co. turned into losses of SR957,000 before Zakat during the first quarter of 2022

Saudi Co. for Hardware’s shareholders approved a dividend freeze for 2021 after posting a 92 percent drop in quarterly profit to SR1.11 million

MBC Group-backed advertising firm Al Arabia more than doubled profits to SR64.9 million in the first quarter of 2022

Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies Co.’s quarterly profit fell from SR26.9 million to SR25.3 million

Calendar

May 22, 2022

Start of Amwaj International Co.’s IPO subscription

Start of Ladun Investment Co.’s IPO subscription

May 25, 2022

End of Amwaj International Co.’s IPO subscription

May 26, 2022

End of Ladun Investment Co.’s IPO subscription 


Saudi business leaders honored at the Top CEO forum in Dubai

Saudi business leaders honored at the Top CEO forum in Dubai
Updated 42 min 14 sec ago

Saudi business leaders honored at the Top CEO forum in Dubai

Saudi business leaders honored at the Top CEO forum in Dubai

DUBAI: Saudi Electricity Co. and Bawan Co. were among the leading Saudi Arabian companies honored for their outstanding operational excellence as the Top CEO forum concluded on May 18 in Dubai. 

Amid a standing ovation, Khaled bin Hamad Al-Gnoon, the acting CEO of SEC received the honor, followed by Bawan Co.'s CEO Fozan bin Mohammed Al Fozan. 

Around 100 CEOs from the Gulf Cooperation Council listed companies received the Top CEO awards based on their financial performance, size and corporate governance. The companies were spread across 10 sectors including banking, energy & utility, finance & investment, logistics & industrials, malls, real estate and construction, and mining, metal & chemicals.   

Other CEOs who were honored during the event include Sami Al-Safran of Middle East Paper Co., Salman Abdulaziz Al-Badran of Mobily, Fahad Salem Al-Matrafi of Advanced Petrochemical Co., Omar Al-Ruhaily of Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co., and Abdullah Ali Al-Khalifa of Alinma Bank. 

Leejam Sports Co. CEO Shaden Hamad Alsagri, L’azurde Co. for Jewelry CEO Sélim Chidiac, and SRMG's Jomana Rashid Al-Rashed were also recognized for their outstanding achievements. 

The winners were selected based on the financials and corporate governance metrics for the financial year 2021. The organizer stated that the winners’ final list, which was audited by KPMG, was prepared based on a formula developed in partnership with INSEAD Business School and Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance.