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
Russia has plans to issue its own digital rouble, but the government has only recently come round to supporting the use of private cryptocurrencies
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Updated 19 May 2022

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) 


TASI trades higher, while investors fret about inflation: Opening bell

TASI trades higher, while investors fret about inflation: Opening bell
Updated 21 sec ago

TASI trades higher, while investors fret about inflation: Opening bell

TASI trades higher, while investors fret about inflation: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks opened higher on Tuesday’s opening bell, but investors were still worried about the impact inflation will have on the economy.

The main index, TASI, gained 0.18 percent to reach 11,378, while the parallel market, Nomu, started flat at 20,684, as of 10:09 a.m. Saudi time.

This was led by a 1.29 percent rise in Saudi chemicals maker Petro Rabigh and 0.26 percent gain in Saudi Aramco, the largest player on the Saudi oil market.

In the banking sector, Al Rajhi, the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, rose 0.75 percent, and Saudi National Bank climbed 0.30 percent.

Saudi British Bank lost 1.10 percent of its share price in early trading.

Saudi Research and Media Group and Saudi Fisheries Co. led gainers with 2.25 percent and 3.31 percent gains, respectively.

Ataa Educational Co. topped the decliners in the early morning session, shedding 2.68 percent.

In the energy sector, West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at $110.01 per barrel and Brent crude was trading at $113.36 per barrel as of 10:03 a.m. Saudi time.


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

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Tuesday
Updated 05 July 2022

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

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

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock market extended losses on Monday as recession and inflation risks continue to bother investors.

The main benchmark index TASI lost 0.9 percent to close at 11,358, hit by a 1.3-percent fall in oil giant Aramco, while the parallel market Nomu dropped 1.9 percent to 20,672.

Likewise, the stock exchanges of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar, and Kuwait all shed between 0.2 and 1.4 percent.

Bahrain and Oman bucked the downward trend to close 0.5 and 0.2 percent higher, respectively.

Apart from the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index EGX30 continued its losing streak as it slipped 3.6 percent.

Oil prices were slightly changed on Tuesday due to lingering supply concerns and worries over a potential global recession.

Brent crude futures edged down to $113.28 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate rose almost 1.5 percent to $110.02 a barrel by 9:16 a.m. Saudi time.

Stock news

Petro Rabigh’s rump offering generated a total of SR390 million ($104 million) in proceeds after selling over 23 million shares

Middle East Specialized Cables Co. appointed Yahiya Al-Qunaibit as board chairman and Saad Al-Shammari as vice-chairman

Two substantial shareholders in Wataniya Insurance Co. have executed an off-market deal where SNIC Insurance Co. sold a 2.5 percent stake to E.A. Juffali and Brothers for SR16.5 million

Jadwa Investment Co. sold a property located in Riyadh, namely Raud Al Jenan School, for SR27 million

National Industrialization Co. elected Mubarak Al-Khafrah as its chairman and Talal Al-Maiman as its vice-chairman

Gulf General Cooperative Insurance Co. has signed a one-year deal with Al-Rashid Trading and Contracting Co. to provide medical insurance services

Calendar

July 7, 2022

Saudi Exchange will close for the Eid Al Adha holidays and resume trading on July 13


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 05 July 2022

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 05 July 2022

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 05 July 2022

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.