Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether down; Citadel Securities to tap virtual currency market

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether down; Citadel Securities to tap virtual currency market
Ken Griffin, founder of Citadel Securities, said he envisions the company entering the cryptocurrency market as a combination of a liquidity provider and an exchange. Shutterstock
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Updated 03 May 2022

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether down; Citadel Securities to tap virtual currency market

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether down; Citadel Securities to tap virtual currency market

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Tuesday, down 1.28 percent to $38,478 at 8.45 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,838, down 0.77 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Citadel Securities to enter cryptocurrency market

On Monday, Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of Citadel Securities, one of the world’s biggest market-making firms, said he envisions the company entering the cryptocurrency market as a combination of a liquidity provider and an exchange.

“Given the institutional increase in interest in cryptocurrency, I think it’s reasonable to expect us to be more involved in the crypto space providing liquidity to institutional and potentially retail investors,” Griffin said at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles.

While some market makers — firms that provide market liquidity by streaming buy and sell quotes for others to trade against — such as Virtu Financial, Jump Trading and DRW, have embraced the nascent asset class, Citadel Securities has largely stayed on the sidelines.

Griffin in October called cryptocurrencies “a jihadist call that we don’t believe in the dollar.”

But on Monday, he said that while he is skeptical about cryptocurrencies, he has to live with the reality that an asset is worth what people perceive it is worth.

(With input from Reuters)


Modon to develop 14 automated warehouses in Jeddah 

Modon to develop 14 automated warehouses in Jeddah 
Updated 8 sec ago

Modon to develop 14 automated warehouses in Jeddah 

Modon to develop 14 automated warehouses in Jeddah 

RIYADH: The Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, also known as Modon, is set to establish, develop and operate 14 warehouses in Jeddah 1st Industrial City.  

The new warehouses will be based on smart automated systems to provide quick and temporary logistical solutions to support industrialists and entrepreneurs as well as stimulate investment in the retail sector.  

According to Modon, the project involves the construction of fully digital and automated warehouses that do not need human intervention, using the latest technology and equipment that provides access to storage units via a smartphone app.  

The project is set to offer 24-hour customer service to provide immediate and thorough support.  

The warehouses will be operated based on the public-private partnership model, which is expected to enhance quality standards and operational efficiency of services and products and stimulate investment. 


Saudi fintech firm Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

Saudi fintech firm Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  
Updated 5 min 2 sec ago

Saudi fintech firm Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

Saudi fintech firm Raqamyah gets SAMA license to offer crowdlending solutions  

CAIRO: Riyadh-based fintech firm Raqamyah has received a license from the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, to offer its debt-based crowdlending solutions to small and medium enterprises.  

The license was granted after the company successfully passed testing its solutions within the SAMA’s regulatory sandbox, an experimental environment dedicated to innovative financial products and services in Saudi Arabia.  

Founded in 2017, Raqamyah enables SMEs to access Shariah-compliant financing of up to $1.3 million from individual and institutional lenders through its online platform and has been part of SAMA’s regulatory sandbox since 2019.  

SMEs apply for financing applications with the firm and receive approval within three working days to list their business on the platform where lenders start funding the request.  

The financers then receive monthly payments and profits as the businesses make their repayments. The platform also offers lenders to automate their lending investments so whenever there’s an opportunity that fits the criteria.  

In February 2021, Raqamyah secured $2.3 million in a funding round led by Impact46 which was used to comply with SAMA’s licensing requirements. 

The bank said its licensing of fintech companies contributes to achieving the objectives of the Financial Development Sector strategy aligned with Vision 2030.   

“SAMA reiterates its commitment to support the finance sector, increase the efficacy and flexibility of financial transactions and enable innovation in financial services to promote financial inclusion in the Kingdom and provide easy and secure access to financial services to all segments of society,” it said in a press release. 

Last month, the central bank issued licenses to two fintech firms — Forus and Tameed — both specializing in debt-based crowdfunding.  

Also earlier in January, the central bank announced the launch of a new lab to allow businesses to test their products against an established framework.   

The service is a new concept that enables consumers of financial institutions to securely share their data with a third-party provider, facilitating innovative services and products. 


Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes
Updated 15 min 3 sec ago

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

Aldar joins with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi based Aldar Properties is set to begin devlopments in Dubai after signing a joint venture agreement with Dubai Holding to build 9,000 new homes across three communities in Dubai.

The developments will take place in the suburban heart of the city along the E311 and E611 corridors across 38.2 million sq. ft of land. according to a press release.

Work is set to begin this year, according to a press release.

“Our entry to Dubai is a milestone moment for Aldar, and we are excited about our long-term growth potential in the emirate alongside Dubai Holding, a prominent and strategic partner,” said Group CEO at Aldar Properties Talal Al Dhiyebi.  

Aldar will be in charge of the entire development cycle, including concept design, sales, delivery, and management of the developments.

“The JV with Aldar demonstrates Dubai Holding’s unparalleled track record of being the strategic ‘partner of choice’ for strong regional and institutional investors. In line with our vision to operate For the Good of Tomorrow, we will continue to unlock opportunities that position Dubai as a leading destination for investments from across the globe,” noted Amit Kaushal, CEO of Dubai Holding.

“By joining forces with Aldar, one of the market leaders in this field, we are delivering on a shared objective of driving the UAE’s economic growth and creating long-term, sustainable value for all our stakeholders,” Kaushal added.


Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals
Updated 02 February 2023

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

Saudi-based AJA Pharma and the UAE’s Bioventure agree deal to license and supply new pharmaceuticals

RIYADH: Saudi-based AJA Pharma has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UAE’s Bioventure FZ-LLC to license and supply new pharmaceutical products.

According to a bourse filing, the new additional selected pharmaceutical products in the Middle East region are set to be used in the Saudi Export stand at the upcoming Arab Health Expedition 2023.

Under the terms of the new MoU, Bioventure, a subsidiary of GlobalOne Healthcare Holding, is set to focus and develop various delivery forms including complex-to-develop formulations, diabetes, oncology, and biosimilars.

In addition to this, the biopharmaceutical company is also expected to advance and propel therapeutic categories that are projected to be among the largest and fastest-growing within the global pharma sector over the coming years.

The financial impact of the one-year agreement which was signed on Feb. 1 is yet to be disclosed.

Commenting on the agreement, Thamer Al-Muhid, CEO of investment firm Saudi Chemical Co. Holding – of which AJA Pharma is a subsidiary – said: “SSCH aspires to develop its manufacturing arm in the pharma sector, AJA Pharma, through such investment which will contribute to strengthening its position as a Saudi pharmaceutical manufacturer in the field of Oncology, Diabetes and Specialty products, to serve and meet community needs.”

Also, Ashraf Radwan, CEO of GlobalOne Healthcare, said: “Bioventure is committed to improving access to quality healthcare for patients in the Middle East, and this MoU with AJA Pharma marks a significant step towards achieving that goal. By expanding our licensing and supply capabilities, we can bring a wider range of innovative, effective treatments to the people who need them most. I am thrilled to be working with AJA Pharma to bring these solutions to patients in the Middle East and make a meaningful difference in their lives”.

Bioventure is a biopharmaceutical company with a global network focused on biotech as well as a wide range of pharmaceutical activities.


SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  
Updated 50 min 30 sec ago

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

SAMA among Gulf central banks to mirror US Fed 25 bps interest rate hike  

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank has increased its interest rate by 25 basis points to 5.25 percent, echoing Wednesday’s move by the US Federal Reserve to curb inflation. 

A statement from the bank, also known as SAMA, noted its Reverse Repo rate has also increased to 4.75 percent.  

Inflation is on the rise in the Kingdom, with the annual rate rising to 3.3 percent in December, up from 2.9 percent in November.  

The Fed’s quarter-point interest rate hike follows months of larger increases, as it hiked 50 basis points in December, and 75 basis points in November, September, July and June.

Despite recent signs of a slow down in the US economy, prices are running at their highest level since the early 1980s. 

Rising interest rates increase the cost of borrowing for consumers, leading to more expensive mortgage bills and loan repayments – something that can lead to reduced spending on other items as people try to reduce costs.

However, savers benefit from the interest rates rise, with money stored away gaining a greater return. Yet, with inflation across the globe still running hot, any extra interest gained by savings is lower than the rising cost of goods and services.

While the US Central Bank’s decision was driven by its desire to lower high inflation, this played a part in driving the Gulf region’s monetary policy, as most of the region’s currencies are pegged to the dollar.  

Following the US Fed’s decision, regional central banks also swung into action to raise their interest rates – although Qatar chose to hold. 

The UAE's central bank increased its base rate to 4.65 percent, effective on Thursday, while the Central Bank of Oman hiked its Repo rate to reach 5.25 percent.

Bahrain also raised its main rate by 25 basis points, with its one-week deposit facility rate rising to 5.5 percent, while the overnight deposit rate hit 5.25 percent. 

Qatar’s Central Bank said in a press release Wednesday that it would keep its rates unchanged, keeping its deposit rate at 5 percent, its lending rate at 5.5 percent, and its repo rates at 5.25 percent. 

As it was predicted that the country would mirror the Fed in early 2023 by the credit ratings agency Fitch in a report last month, this decision came somewhat as a surprise. 

The Central Bank of Kuwait, which raised its interest rate by 50 basis points last month, often acts separately and does not necessarily follow the Fed’s hikes.  

In addition, the Central Bank of Egypt is forecast to raise its overnight interest rates by 150 basis points at its regular monetary policy committee meeting on Thursday, a Reuters poll showed last Monday.  

The CBE increased its interest rates by an unprecedented 800 basis points over the last year alone, and has been involved in a constant series of currency devaluations.  

A poll of 13 analysts anticipated the bank to increase its deposit rate to 17.75 percent and its lending rate to 18.75 percent.