Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether slightly up; Virtual assets shed $800bn market value in a month; KuCoin valued at $10bn

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether slightly up; Virtual assets shed $800bn market value in a month; KuCoin valued at $10bn
Bitcoin has nearly halved from the record high hit in November last year. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 11 May 2022

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether slightly up; Virtual assets shed $800bn market value in a month; KuCoin valued at $10bn

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether slightly up; Virtual assets shed $800bn market value in a month; KuCoin valued at $10bn
  • Crypto assets bled nearly $800 billion in market value over the past month, touching a low of $1.4 trillion on Tuesday

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Wednesday, up 1.34 percent to $31,755 as of 08:20 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,397, up 1.48 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Coinbase CEO says new disclosure does not mean firm faces bankruptcy risk

Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase said a disclosure in its latest quarterly filing did not indicate the crypto exchange operator faced a bankruptcy risk and it had been made to meet a US Securities and Exchange Commission, known as SEC, requirement.

Armstrong made his comments after Coinbase said on Tuesday that, in the event of bankruptcy, crypto assets held by the exchange could be considered property of the bankruptcy proceedings, and customers could be treated as general unsecured creditors.

The unsecured creditor will be one of the last to be paid in any bankruptcy and last in line for claims.

Coinbase, whose shares plunged 15 percent in extended trade on Tuesday, also missed estimates for first-quarter revenue and posted a loss as turmoil in global markets curbed investor appetite for higher risk assets including cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase reported a 35 percent slump in total revenue to $1.17 billion for the three months ended March 31. Analysts had expected revenue of $1.48 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Coinbase said its disclosure might lead customers to believe that keeping their coins on the platform would be considered more risky, which would in turn materially impact its financial position.

“We have no risk of bankruptcy,” Armstrong tweeted after the disclosure, which he said was made to meet SEC requirements.

“We should have updated our retail terms sooner, and we didn't communicate proactively when this risk disclosure was added, my deepest apologies,” Armstrong said. 

Bitcoin slumps

Among its mix of crypto assets, Bitcoin accounted for 24 percent of trading volume, up 16 percent from the prior quarter but down 39 percent from a year earlier.

The cryptocurrency market has been roiled by extreme volatility due to economic and geopolitical uncertainties, such as fears of rising inflation and the impact of the Ukraine war, leading to a sharp drop in their prices.

Bitcoin has nearly halved from the record high hit in November last year, as the world’s largest digital asset becomes a major target of governments and regulators looking to crack down on privately operated currencies.

SEC’s Gensler says crypto exchanges trading against clients

Gary Gensler is increasing his criticism of the digital asset exchange, arguing that some platforms are evading rules and may be betting against their customers, Bloomberg reported. 

The chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission reiterated on Tuesday that most digital assets fall under his agency's purview and venues trading them should register with the regulator.

The SEC is also ramping up its enforcement efforts, Gensler added. 

“Crypto’s got a lot of those challenges, of platforms trading ahead of their customers,” Gensler said. “In fact, they’re trading against their customers often because they’re market-marking against them,” Gensler told Bloomberg News in an interview. 

Crypto assets shed $800 billion in market value in a month

Crypto assets bled nearly $800 billion in market value over the past month, touching a low of $1.4 trillion on Tuesday, according to data site CoinMarketCap, as the end of easy monetary policy diminishes appetite for risk assets.

Bitcoin, which makes up for nearly 40 percent of the crypto market, hit a 10-month low earlier on Tuesday, before rebounding to $31,450, just six days after touching $40,000. It was more than 54 percent below its Nov. 10 all-time high of $69,000.

Digital asset prices have slumped, mirroring a plunge in equities on fears of aggressive interest rate hikes across the globe to stave off decades-high inflation. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 28 percent from its November 2021 record high.

The total crypto market value was at $2.2 trillion on April 2, well off of its all-time peak of $2.9 trillion last November, as per CoinMarketCap.

“Bitcoin remains highly correlated to the broader economic conditions, which suggests the road ahead may unfortunately be a rocky one, at least for the time being,” blockchain data provider Glassnode said in a note.

Signs of weakness in stablecoins, typically a safer crypto currency, further spooked investors. TerraUSD, the world’s fourth-largest stablecoin, lost a third of its value on Tuesday, as it lost its peg to the dollar.

Despite bitcoin’s price slump, funds and products linked to it posted inflows of $45 million last week as investors took advantage of price weakness, according to digital asset manager Coinshares in a report released on Monday.

KuCoin valued at $10 billion in latest funding round

Cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin raised $150 million in a series B funding round led by Jump Crypto, the company said on Tuesday, giving it a valuation of $10 billion.

KuCoin, the fifth largest crypto exchange according to data firm CoinMarketCap, has 10 million users in 207 countries. It plans to use the money to expand its presence in Web3, a utopian version of the world wide web that is decentralized and based on blockchain technology.

The Seychelles-based company offers trading services and plans to use the funds to expand to crypto wallets, digital finance, NFTs as well as to build its online community of crypto users.

The latest funding round includes investment from Circle Ventures, IDG Capital and Matric Partners.

Private investments in crypto firms have exploded in 2022 despite a slump in Bitcoin and other assets this year.

Venture capital investment in such projects totaled $10 billion globally in the first quarter of 2022, the largest quarterly sum ever, and more than double the level seen in the same period a year ago, according to data from Pitchbook.

(With input from Reuters) 


Heathrow extends passenger cap into October

Heathrow extends passenger cap into October
Updated 17 sec ago

Heathrow extends passenger cap into October

Heathrow extends passenger cap into October

LONDON: Heathrow airport said on Monday it was extending its capacity limit through most of October to reduce the chaos caused by a post-pandemic surge in passengers amid a lack of staff.

Europe’s largest airport introduced a cap of 100,000 departing passengers per day in July, which was originally slated to have expired at the end of September.

“Since the cap was introduced, passenger journeys have improved with fewer last-minute cancelations, better punctuality and shorter wait times for bags,” said Heathrow.

It said the extension through Oct. 29 “will provide passengers with confidence ahead of their half-term getaways.”

Airlines scheduled thousands of flights in Europe this summer season to capture a boom in travel demand following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.

But having cut back staff drastically during the pandemic, both airlines and airports found it difficult to hire enough employees.

This led to long waits to check-in, clear security and collect bags in many airports across Europe, as well as to cancelations of flights due to lack of crew.

The Heathrow cap was set at roughly 4,000 passengers per day fewer than scheduled flight capacity.

Airlines have canceled flights in response to the cap, as well as in recognition of their staffing levels.

Heathrow said it was regularly reviewing the situation and would remove the cap early if it sees an improvement.

“We want to remove the cap as soon as possible, but we can only do so when we are confident that everyone operating at the airport has the resources to deliver the service our passengers deserve,” Heathrow Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker said.

Amsterdam and Frankfurt airports have also instituted caps.


Saudi Arabia’s agricultural sector grew at a rate of 7.8% in 2021

Saudi Arabia’s agricultural sector grew at a rate of 7.8% in 2021
Updated 38 min 54 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s agricultural sector grew at a rate of 7.8% in 2021

Saudi Arabia’s agricultural sector grew at a rate of 7.8% in 2021

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s agricultural sector grew at a rate of 7.8 percent in 2021 as compared to the previous year, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The agricultural output during the period was valued at SR72.25 billion ($19.23 billion) — the highest in more than five years — as compared to SR67.05 billion in the previous year.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture attributed this growth to its strategies implemented in line with Vision 2030. In addition to that recovery from the coronavirus disease pandemic also helped the sector’s growth, the ministry added.

The Kingdom’s agriculture output in 2017 was estimated at SR65.29 billion, around SR65.49 billion in 2018, and SR66.20 billion in 2019.

It recorded around SR67.05 billion in 2020, noting that the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product in general amounted to 2.3 percent last year, while the contribution of agricultural output to non-oil GDP was 3.6 percent, an increase of 0.2 percent compared to 2020.

The ministry highlighted that the Kingdom’s balance of trade achieved a surplus of SR462.5 billion, an increase from the year 2020, which recorded SR134.5 billion, due to increased exports during 2021. The agricultural exports amounted to SR13.16 billion.


PIF, Cain International invest $900m in Aman Group to boost its global expansion

PIF, Cain International invest $900m in Aman Group to boost its global expansion
Updated 15 August 2022

PIF, Cain International invest $900m in Aman Group to boost its global expansion

PIF, Cain International invest $900m in Aman Group to boost its global expansion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Cain International have invested $900 million in Aman Group to help accelerate the global expansion of the hospitality and lifestyle brand management company.

The investment will be used to enhance the existing portfolio, drive the construction of the pipeline of Aman and Janu destinations, as well as support the acquisition and development of additional sites, according to a statement issued on Monday. 

Following the new funding, the company is now valued at over $3billion.

Aman is a renowned collection of 34 hotels across 20 countries, 12 of which include Aman Branded Residences, with nine further hotels and residences projects under construction and a committed pipeline of additional destinations in countries including USA, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and European destinations, among others. 

Vlad Doronin, owner, chairman and CEO of Aman Group, said: “The investment from PIF and Cain International is a vote of confidence in my vision and the work the team has done over the last eight years, cementing the brand’s evolution and ability to deliver this vision at pace.”

Commenting on the investment, Turqi Al-Nowaiser, deputy governor and head of International Investments Division at PIF, said: “The investment is in line with PIF’s strategy to invest in promising sectors to achieve sustainable, attractive returns in Saudi Arabia and globally.”

“We are excited to be investing in this phenomenal brand and look forward to building upon our longstanding partnership with Vlad and his team,” said Jonathan Goldstein, CEO and co- founder of Cain International. 


PIF-owned Helicopter Co. to add Airbus ACH160 to its fleet 


PIF-owned Helicopter Co. to add Airbus ACH160 to its fleet 

Updated 35 min 22 sec ago

PIF-owned Helicopter Co. to add Airbus ACH160 to its fleet 


PIF-owned Helicopter Co. to add Airbus ACH160 to its fleet 


RIYADH: The Helicopter Co., fully owned by the Public Investment Fund, has announced that Airbus ACH160 multi-purpose helicopter will become part of its fleet in early 2023.

The new ACH160 is one of the world’s most technologically advanced helicopters with a new rotor blade design that results in significantly reduced noise, according to a statement posted on LinkedIn.

The company will obtain six new ACH160 helicopters, with the first being set to join the fleet early in 2023.

The new helicopter comes in line with the firm’s aims to deliver an improved environmental footprint and lower fuel consumption.


Macro Snapshot — China unexpectedly cuts key rates as economic data disappoints; Japan’s economy expands

Macro Snapshot — China unexpectedly cuts key rates as economic data disappoints; Japan’s economy expands
Updated 15 August 2022

Macro Snapshot — China unexpectedly cuts key rates as economic data disappoints; Japan’s economy expands

Macro Snapshot — China unexpectedly cuts key rates as economic data disappoints; Japan’s economy expands

CAIRO: China’s central bank cut key lending rates in a surprise move on Monday to revive demand as data showed the economy slowing in July, with factory and retail activity squeezed by Beijing’s zero-COVID policy and a property crisis.

The grim set of figures indicate the world’s second largest economy is struggling to shake off the June quarter’s hit to growth from strict COVID-19 restrictions, prompting some economists to downgrade their projections.

Egypt’s unemployment rate  

Egypt’s unemployment rate in April to June remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 7.2 percent, the country’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization And Statistics announced on Monday.

Thai GDP grows 

Thailand’s economy expanded at the fastest pace in a year in the second quarter as eased COVID-19 restrictions boosted activity and tourism, reinforcing views that more rate hikes will be needed to curb inflationary pressures.

The Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is making a steady recovery after the lifting of pandemic curbs but still faces headwinds ranging from inflation at 14-year highs to China’s slowdown and weaker global demand. Read full story

The government slightly revised its 2022 economic growth forecast to 2.7 percent to 3.2 percent from an earlier 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent range. Last year’s 1.5 percent growth was among the slowest in Southeast Asia.

Japan’s economy expands

Japan’s economy expanded an annualized 2.2 percent in the April-June period to mark the third straight quarter of expansion on solid private consumption, government data showed on Monday.

The increase in gross domestic product was slower than a median market forecast for a 2.5 percent expansion. It translated into quarterly growth of 0.5 percent against market forecasts for a 0.6 percent rise.

Private consumption rose 1.1 percent in the April-June period from the previous quarter, compared with a median market forecast for a 1.3 percent increase, the data showed.