Mastercard announces partnership to launch integrated wallet in MENA region 

Through this partnership, banks, fintech, merchants and wallet providers can offer consumers in the region easy access to digital-first payment solutions and services.
Through this partnership, banks, fintech, merchants and wallet providers can offer consumers in the region easy access to digital-first payment solutions and services.
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Updated 22 May 2022

Mastercard announces partnership to launch integrated wallet in MENA region 

Mastercard announces partnership to launch integrated wallet in MENA region 

RIYADH: Mastercard, One Global and i2c have announced a partnership to provide tailored financial solutions that will enable the issuance of digital mobile wallets in the MENA region. 

One Global is a digital transformation and innovation company, specialized in fintech, while i2c is a global provider of highly configurable payment and banking solutions. 

Through this partnership, banks, fintech, merchants and wallet providers can offer consumers in the region easy access to digital-first payment solutions and services.

Mastercard and i2c will also provide an exchange to exchange solution for fintechs to go to market faster and in a more agile way.

“This announcement is an excellent example of collaboration to solve for speed, service and scale, while accelerating financial inclusion and innovation in the region,” Amnah Ajmal, executive vice president of Mastercard said. 


UAE In-Focus – UAE launches ‘NextGen FDI’; Dubai’s hotel profitability soars; AD Ports signs JV with Uzbekistan’s SEG 

UAE In-Focus – UAE launches ‘NextGen FDI’; Dubai’s hotel profitability soars; AD Ports signs JV with Uzbekistan’s SEG 
Updated 12 sec ago

UAE In-Focus – UAE launches ‘NextGen FDI’; Dubai’s hotel profitability soars; AD Ports signs JV with Uzbekistan’s SEG 

UAE In-Focus – UAE launches ‘NextGen FDI’; Dubai’s hotel profitability soars; AD Ports signs JV with Uzbekistan’s SEG 

The UAE’s Ministry of Economy has launched the ‘NextGen FDI’ initiative to bring more than 300 digital-focussed businesses to the country within six to 12 months, Gulf News reported. 

The project will enable these companies to launch and scale up their businesses from within the UAE by providing them with the necessary market entry support, it added. 

As part of the program, companies looking to establish a presence in the UAE will receive faster incorporation processes, bulk visa issuance, and accelerated banking services, as well as commercial and residential real estate incentives for relocating employees.

Software development, data science, computer programming, and digital asset entrepreneurs will be the focus of the program, it added. 

Hotel profitability in Dubai is seven times higher than in 2019

Dubai’s gross operating profit per available room, termed as GOPPAR, came in seven times higher than the 2019 comparable, according to global hospitality research firm STR.

Its P&L data for May 2022 revealed that Dubai’s GOPPAR reached 423.77 dirhams ($115.37) with the help of strong international arrivals and an earlier Ramadan. 

The level was 776 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels. In Ramadan, the market was at 79 percent of the 2019 level, the report stated. 

AD Ports signs JV and MoU with Uzbekistan’s SEG 

Abu Dhabi Ports has formed a joint venture with Uzbekistan’s SEG to open logistics and freight facilities.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed to develop a food trading hub in Uzbekistan, according to MEED.

The joint venture will provide logistics and freight forwarding services, including road, rail, and air transportation, warehousing, contract logistics, and customs clearance.

SEG-Marakand Logair will develop an integrated food storage and distribution hub near Samarkand International airport through the memorandum. In Uzbekistan, AD Ports will open its first overseas office.

The project aims to improve food security in Central Asia by enhancing Uzbekistan’s food trade. The memorandum will cover food storage, transportation, and security, MEED concluded. 


Saudi Arabia offering crude at discounts as competition rises: Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia offering crude at discounts as competition rises: Bloomberg
Updated 32 min 40 sec ago

Saudi Arabia offering crude at discounts as competition rises: Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia offering crude at discounts as competition rises: Bloomberg

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is offering some of its crudes at steep discounts amid rising competition from Russia with Moscow flushing cheap oil into the market, Bloomberg reported.

This has forced Riyadh to set the pricing of its Arab Heavy and Arab Medium grades at the largest discount related to Arab Light since 2014 for August-loading cargoes to Asia, data compiled by Bloomberg revealed. 

The report further noted that China and India are the biggest buyers of this discounted oil. These countries, however, have also increased purchases of Russian oil post the Ukrainian invasion. 

As Russia offered the fuel at discounted prices, pressure has mounted on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries producers. 

Iran and Venezuela were among other countries that also slashed the price of oil. 

Arab Heavy and Arab Medium are considered less profitable fuel oil, which is used in shipping and power stations. 

Even though Saudi Arabia has offered huge discounts to buyers in the US and Europe, most buyers of the heavier grades are in Asia as their refineries are much equipped to process dense varieties.


Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum fall; Voyager Digital files for bankruptcy; Crypto credit card with no spending cap launches in UAE

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum fall; Voyager Digital files for bankruptcy; Crypto credit card with no spending cap launches in UAE
Updated 06 July 2022

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum fall; Voyager Digital files for bankruptcy; Crypto credit card with no spending cap launches in UAE

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum fall; Voyager Digital files for bankruptcy; Crypto credit card with no spending cap launches in UAE

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Wednesday, falling by 2.15 percent to $19,887.74 as of 9:40 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,121.72 falling by 3.54 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Voyager Digital files for bankruptcy

Cryptocurrency lender Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, a week after it halted operations on its platform to give itself more time to consider strategic alternatives, according to Reuters.

Voyager, based in New Jersey, stated in its bankruptcy filing on Tuesday that it has more than 100,000 creditors, assets worth between $1 billion and $10 billion, and liabilities of the same amount.

All civil legal cases are suspended during a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which also enables businesses to develop turnaround strategies while continuing to operate.

“The prolonged volatility and contagion in the crypto markets over the past few months, and the default of Three Arrows Capital on a loan from the company’s subsidiary, Voyager Digital, LLC, require us to take deliberate and decisive action now,” Voyager CEO Stephen Ehrlich said in a statement.

Voyager announced last week that it has sent a notice of default to Singapore-based cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital for failing to make due repayments on a loan for 15,250 bitcoin (about $324 million) and $350 million worth of USDC, a stablecoin.

Later that week, 3AC filed for chapter 15 bankruptcy, which enables foreign debtors to protect US assets.

Crypto credit card with no spending cap launches in UAE

The largest payment network in the world — crypto-powered Visa’s black card, bitcoinblack — has been introduced in the UAE.

Only 10,000 members worldwide can access bitcoinblack via invitation from VISA’s official website in order to become cardholders, according to a statement.

 The crypto-powered premium credit card was introduced in 2021 and is accepted anywhere. Its users can earn rewards of up to 10 percent back in unique ‘$SPND’ tokens.

“Bitcoinblack is perfectly suited for high net worth individuals who want to use their crypto for business or pleasure wherever they are in the world, including the 140+ countries where Visa is accepted,” CEO Prakash Chand said.

 


Oil Updates — Crude bounces back; OPEC general-secretary dies; US investors form venture eyeing Venezuelan oil

Oil Updates — Crude bounces back; OPEC general-secretary dies; US investors form venture eyeing Venezuelan oil
Updated 06 July 2022

Oil Updates — Crude bounces back; OPEC general-secretary dies; US investors form venture eyeing Venezuelan oil

Oil Updates — Crude bounces back; OPEC general-secretary dies; US investors form venture eyeing Venezuelan oil

RIYADH: Oil prices rose nearly 3 percent on Wednesday before paring some gains as investors piled back into the market after a heavy rout in the previous session.

Brent crude futures rose as much as $3.08, or 2.9 percent, to $105.85 a barrel in early trade after plunging 9.5 percent on Tuesday, the biggest daily drop since March. 

It was last up 92 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $103.69 a barrel at 0243 GMT.

US West Texas Intermediate crude climbed to a session high of $102.14 a barrel, up $2.64, or 2.7 percent, after closing below $100 for the first time since late April. It was last up 46 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $99.96 a barrel.

OPEC general secretary Mohammad Barkindo dies at 63

OPEC secretary-general Mohammad Barkindo has died at Abuja, Nigeria at the age of 63, Arab News learned.

He will be buried in his home town Yola, a source confirmed.

The news of Barkindo’s death was confirmed by Mele Kyari, managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

In a tweet, Kyari described Barkindo’s departure as a great loss to his immediate family, NNPC Nigeria, OPEC and the global energy community.

US investors form venture to pursue oil and gas projects in Venezuela

Two US investment funds on Tuesday said they formed a joint venture with a Venezuelan firm to pursue oil and gas exploration and production projects in the US-sanctioned South American country.

Gramercy Funds Management and Atmos Global Energy said their joint venture would work with an arm of Inelectra Group, a Caracas-based firm that holds a stake in the Gulf of Paria East oil project off Venezuela’s eastern coast, where it found oil in 2001.

US companies are barred from doing business with Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA, a policy begun in 2018 by the Trump administration and continued under US President Joe Biden.

The companies did not disclose the size of their investment in the oil venture. Spokespeople did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Any effort is subject to approvals by the US and Venezuela, the companies said.

Ali Moshiri, a US executive and former chief of Chevron Corp’s Latin American operations, set up an investment fund in 2019 to pursue energy projects in Venezuela. The partners aim to “contribute to balancing oil supply and demand,” he said in a statement.

The oil effort “will be beneficial to US interests in the region and the US economy by lowering fuel prices for American consumers,” said Matt Maloney, a partner at Connecticut-based emerging market investor Gramercy.

(With input from Reuters) 


Commodities Update — Gold slowly climbs up; grains fall on recession fear; copper slides

Commodities Update — Gold slowly climbs up; grains fall on recession fear; copper slides
Updated 06 July 2022

Commodities Update — Gold slowly climbs up; grains fall on recession fear; copper slides

Commodities Update — Gold slowly climbs up; grains fall on recession fear; copper slides

RIYADH: Gold found temporary respite on Wednesday after touching a near seven-month low in the previous session, as the dollar paused for breath after a blistering surge to 20-year highs.

Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,770.27 per ounce by 0330 GMT. 

US gold futures also firmed 0.3 percent to $1,769.10.

Silver drops

Spot silver dipped 0.1 percent to $19.27 per ounce, while platinum was down 0.7 percent at $859.52. 

Palladium slipped 0.2 percent to $1,929.35.

Grains fall

Chicago corn futures lost more ground on Wednesday, with prices trading near a multi-month low reached in the previous session on worries around a global recession.

Wheat eased, while soybeans ticked higher.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade lost 0.8 percent to $5.73-3/4 a bushel as of 0252 GMT, while wheat gave up 0.6 percent to $8.02-1/2 a bushel.

Soybeans added 0.3 percent to 13.19-1/4 a bushel.

Copper dips

Copper prices fell on Wednesday to their lowest since November 2020, weighed down by a robust US dollar and threats to demand from heightened fears of a global recession and renewed lockdowns in top consumer China.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 2.5 percent at $7,483 a ton, as of 0440 GMT, its lowest since November 27, 2020.

The most-traded August copper contract in Shanghai dropped 5.5 percent to $8,582.76 a ton by the midday break.

(With inputs from Reuters)