Bitcoin, Ether rise; India’s Kotak pauses crypto trade; China warns of digital financial risks — Crypto Moves

Bitcoin, Ether rise; India’s Kotak pauses crypto trade; China warns of digital financial risks — Crypto Moves
Bitcoin traded higher on Thursday, up 2.70 percent to $41,266. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 14 April 2022

Bitcoin, Ether rise; India’s Kotak pauses crypto trade; China warns of digital financial risks — Crypto Moves

Bitcoin, Ether rise; India’s Kotak pauses crypto trade; China warns of digital financial risks — Crypto Moves

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Thursday, up 2.70 percent to $41,266 as of 09:00 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $3,107, up 1.48 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Kotak pauses crypto trade

Meanwhile, Kotak Mahindra Bank, one of the few Indian financial institutions that warmly welcomed crypto initially has now temporarily discontinued handling payments for trades with CoinSwitch Kuber, a large crypto intermediary, according to a report published in Economic Times. 

Even though the reason behind this move remains unknown, sources said Kotak has decided to pause till the dust settles on cryptos. 

Indian investors shocked following transfer network block

Big Indian crypto exchanges CoinSwitch Kuber and WazirX have disabled rupee deposits for the purchase of cryptocurrency through a widely-used state-backed transfer network, spurring users to renew demands for regulatory clarity.

India has spent years working on a law to ban or regulate cryptocurrencies, with a ban backed by the central bank over risks to financial stability, though a recent decision to tax income from them suggests acceptance by authorities.

Wednesday’s moves follow a one-line statement last week by the National Payments Corporation of India, operator of the state-backed United Payments Interface (UPI), which eases bank transfers, that it was unaware of its use by any crypto exchange.

CoinSwitch was not allowing users to load deposits on its app, although they could still withdraw funds.

China warns of NFT-related financial risks

China warned on Wednesday of financial risks associated with non-fungible tokens, as three industry bodies jointly issued guidelines to prevent the digital asset market from overheating.

NFTs are ownership certificates of a unique digital item such as a video, recording, or cyber artwork. Such digital collectables are gaining traction in China and have been embraced by tech companies including Ant Group and Tencent Holdings.

“In recent years, China’s NFT market is getting increasingly hot,” China’s banking, securities and Internet finance associations said in a joint statement.

Although NFTs could contribute to China’s digital economy, they could also lead to speculative trading, money laundering, and illegal financing, said the trio, who also issued a joint ban on cryptocurrency trading last year.

NFTs must not be used in the issuance of financial assets such as securities, insurance, loans or precious metals, said the statement, published on the website of the China Banking Association.

(With inputs from Reuters)


Aramco sets for $44bn profit amid mixed Q2 earnings of Saudi firms: Al-Rajhi Capital 

Aramco sets for $44bn profit amid mixed Q2 earnings of Saudi firms: Al-Rajhi Capital 
Updated 14 sec ago

Aramco sets for $44bn profit amid mixed Q2 earnings of Saudi firms: Al-Rajhi Capital 

Aramco sets for $44bn profit amid mixed Q2 earnings of Saudi firms: Al-Rajhi Capital 

RIYADH: Saudi-listed companies are expected to see mixed earnings in the second quarter of 2022, amid rising oil prices, looming economic slowdown risks, and interest rate hikes, according to Al-Rajhi Capital.

The Riyadh-based financial service firm which has analyzed the performance of all industrial sectors expects the Kingdom’s oil giant Aramco to post SR164.8 billion ($44 billion) in profits in the second quarter of 2022, up 81 percent from a year earlier. It estimates the chemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp.’s profit to slightly slip by 1 percent to SR7.6 billion.

Apart from SABIC, petrochemical companies will see pressure on earnings, weighed down by higher feedstock costs amid stable polymer prices, the report added.

In the healthcare sector, Al Rajhi Capital forecasts leaps in performance for two major players on improved capacity utilization, as Dallah Health and Sulaiman Al Habib are expected to see a profit surge of 50 percent and 10 percent respectively.

For the cement sector, however, the outlook is negative. All companies including, but not limited to, Saudi Cement, Southern Cement, and Yamama Cement are expected to see a drop in profit due to lower cement volumes.

The investment bank’s forecast for Saudi Telecom Co., known as stc, revealed an 8-percent increase in net profit, reaching SR3.07 billion.


Saudi non-oil sector sees robust improvement in business condition in June: S&P Global 

Saudi non-oil sector sees robust improvement in business condition in June: S&P Global 
Updated 16 min 4 sec ago

Saudi non-oil sector sees robust improvement in business condition in June: S&P Global 

Saudi non-oil sector sees robust improvement in business condition in June: S&P Global 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has seen a robust improvement in business conditions across the non-oil sector in June, as the Kingdom steadily advances in its path of economic transition, according to the latest PMI data from S&P Global.

It said new business rose at the sharpest rate for eight months, despite evidence that intensifying cost pressures had led companies to mark up their prices. 

David Owen, Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said: "Saudi Arabia's non-oil economy continued to go from strength to strength in June, with the PMI picking up to an eight-month high of 57.0 and posting well above the 50.0 no-change mark. 

He said the upturn was underlined by a robust increase in new business levels, which encouraged firms to expand their output sharply and make greater input purchases.


China plans $75bn infrastructure fund to revive economy — sources

China plans $75bn infrastructure fund to revive economy — sources
(Shutterstock)
Updated 39 min 15 sec ago

China plans $75bn infrastructure fund to revive economy — sources

China plans $75bn infrastructure fund to revive economy — sources

BEIJING: China will set up a state infrastructure investment fund worth 500 billion yuan ($74.69 billion) to spur infrastructure spending and revive a flagging economy, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

China’s economy has started a slow recovery from the supply shocks caused by extensive lockdowns since the second quarter, although headwinds to growth persist, including from a still subdued property market, soft consumer spending and fear of any recurring waves of infections.

The fund is expected to be set up in the third quarter, the sources said.

China has unveiled a raft of economic support measures in recent weeks, although analysts say the official gross domestic product target of around 5.5 percent for this year will be hard to achieve without doing away with its strict zero-COVID strategy.

Much of the economic support has come from fiscal stimulus to counter the impact from COVID-19 this year, with the central bank steadily easing liquidity conditions to lower financing costs.

Authorities are doubling down on an infrastructure push, dusting off an old playbook to revive the economy, pledging 800 billion yuan in new credit quota and 300 billion yuan in financial bonds for policy banks to support big projects.

Sources told Reuters that China will issue 2023 advance quota for local government special bonds in the fourth quarter, with the new quota likely bigger than 1.46 trillion yuan for 2022.

The Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The cabinet has told local governments to ensure 3.45 trillion yuan in special bond issuance for infrastructure — part of the 2022 special bond quota of 3.65 trillion yuan — is completed by the end of June.

 


Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears
Updated 04 July 2022

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears

Oil rises as tight supply trumps recession fears
  • OPEC misses target to boost output in June: Survey

LONDON: Oil rose on Monday as supply concerns driven by lower OPEC output, unrest in Libya and sanctions against Russia outweighed fears of a demand-sapping global recession.
Eurozone inflation hit yet another record high in June, strengthening the case for rapid European Central Bank rate increases, while US consumer sentiment hit a record low.
Brent crude rose $2.26, or 2 percent, to $113.89 a barrel by 12:47 p.m. ET (1648 GMT) after falling more than $1 in early trade. US West Texas Intermediate crude rose $2.20, or 2 percent, to $110.63, in thin volume during the US Independence Day holiday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries missed a target to boost output in June, a Reuters survey found.
In OPEC member Libya, authorities declared force majeure at Es Sidr and Ras Lanuf ports as well as the El Feel oilfield on Thursday, saying oil output was down by 865,000 barrels per day.
Meanwhile, Ecuador’s production has been hit by more than two weeks of unrest that has caused the country to lose nearly 2 million barrels of output, said state-run oil company Petroecuador.
Adding to potential supply woes, a strike this week in Norway could cut supply from Western Europe’s largest oil producer and reduce overall petroleum output by about 8 percent.
“This backdrop of mounting supply outages is colliding with a possible shortage in spare production capacity among Middle Eastern oil producers,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM, referring to the limited ability of producers to pump more oil.
“And without new oil production hitting markets soon, prices will be forced higher.”

British PM
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday called on the OPEC+ producer group to produce more oil to tackle a cost-of-living crisis.
Brent crude has come close this year to topping the 2008 record high of $147 a barrel after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added to supply concerns.
Soaring energy prices on the back of bans on Russian oil and reduced gas supply have driven inflation to multi-decade highs in some countries and stoked recession fears.


Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector
Updated 04 July 2022

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

Egypt In-Focus — Suez Canal’s revenues rise 20.7%; efforts on to develop sustainable transport sector

CAIRO: Egypt’s Suez Canal’s revenues increased 20.7 percent during the fiscal year 2021/22. The Ministry of International Cooperation has received $2.4 billion from bilateral and multilateral partners over the past two years for the development of sustainable transport sector.

Suez Canal

Suez Canal’s revenues increased by 20.7 percent during the fiscal year 2021/22, compared to the year earlier, to reach $7 billion, Asharq Al-Awsat reported citing Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabea.

Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Sustainable transport sector 

Egypt is working to provide development funds and technical support from multilateral and bilateral development partners in a bid to develop the transport sector, Asharq Al-Awsat reported citing the minister of international cooperation.

Rania Al-Mashat was quoted as saying that over the past two years, the ministry has received around $2.4 billion for the sustainable transport sector from the European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, China, and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

BNPL service

Amazon Egypt has launched its buy now, pay later fintech platform valU, as part of its commitment to enhance shopping experience in the north African country and offer customers affordable and flexible payment options.