Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether up; Binance registers with Italy’s regulator; Russia to allow crypto for international payments

Update Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether up; Binance registers with Italy’s regulator; Russia to allow crypto for international payments
Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Sunday. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 29 May 2022

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether up; Binance registers with Italy’s regulator; Russia to allow crypto for international payments

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin, Ether up; Binance registers with Italy’s regulator; Russia to allow crypto for international payments

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Sunday, down 0.60 percent to $29,016 as of 10:04 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,781, up 0.88 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

India's central bank takes a tiered approach to launching digital currency

India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, know as RBI, has proposed adopting a tiered approach to launch the country's central bank digital currency, Bitcoin.com reported. 

“The Reserve Bank proposes to adopt a graded approach to introduction of CBDC, going step by step through stages of proof of concept, pilots and the launch,” RBI said.  

“The design of CBDC needs to be in conformity monetary policy, financial stability and efficient operations of currency and payment systems.” 

The RBI added that: “the appropriate design elements of CBDCs that could be implemented with little, or no disruption are under examination.”

Meanwhile, the Indian government has not made a decision on the country’s crypto policy, but crypto income is currently taxed at 30 percent, according to Bitcoin.com

The 1 percent tax deducted at source, or TDS, will also come into effect soon in India.

Binance registers with Italy’s regulator 

Binance said on Friday its legal entity in Italy had registered with the regulator in the country, as the major cryptocurrency exchange seeks to gain traction in Europe.

The registration of Binance Italy, which was established in recent months, could potentially make the company more accountable and reduce the prospects for money laundering.

Binance said it could now open offices in Italy and expand the local team. The company is one of the 14 virtual asset operators to be registered with the Organismo degli Agenti e dei Mediatori, also known as the OAM, which regulates the crypto industry in Italy.

The move comes almost a year after Binance was forced to dial back on its product offerings across Europe after coming under scrutiny from regulators. In Italy, the company had to wind down its futures and derivatives business.

Earlier this month, Binance’s Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao said the company had also registered with France’s market regulator. Binance is also seeking registration in Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal and Austria.

Russia mulls allowing cryptocurrency for international payments

Russia is considering allowing cryptocurrency to be used for international payments, Interfax news agency quoted a government official as saying on Friday.

“The idea of using digital currencies in transactions for international settlements is being actively discussed,” Ivan Chebeskov, head of the finance ministry’s financial policy department, was quoted as saying.

Russian officials are wrestling with how to regulate the country’s crypto market and use of digital currencies, with the finance ministry opposed to the central bank’s calls for a blanket ban.

Discussions have been ongoing for months and though the government expects cryptocurrencies to be legalized as a means of payment sooner or later, no consensus has yet been reached.

The finance ministry is discussing adding the latest proposal on international payments to an updated version of a draft law, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Friday, citing government officials.

Allowing crypto as a means of settlement for international trade would help counter the impact of Western sanctions, which has seen Russia’s access to traditional cross-border payment mechanisms “limited,” Chebeskov said.

(With input from Reuters) 


TASI begins higher despite market fears: Opening bell

TASI begins higher despite market fears: Opening bell
Updated 12 sec ago

TASI begins higher despite market fears: Opening bell

TASI begins higher despite market fears: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks opened higher in the early morning trading session, despite ongoing market fears of higher interest rates weighing on investors' sentiment.

The main index, TASI, gained 0.11 percent to reach 11,477, while the parallel market, Nomu, started flat at 21,082, as of 10:08 a.m. Saudi time.

This was led by a rise in the banking sector, with Al Rajhi, the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, adding 0.25 percent, and Saudi National Bank adding 0.75 percent.

Among the biggest IT companies, Elm Co. gained 0.48 percent and Al Moammar Information Systems Co. gained 0.12 percent, respectively.

Shares of Saudi Aramco, the largest player on the Saudi oil market, opened 0.52 percent lower.

Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co. led the fallers with a 3.07 percent decline, followed by Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development which fell 2.48 percent.

In the energy sector, West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at $108.56 per barrel and Brent crude was trading at $111.74 per barrel as of 10:10 a.m. Saudi time.


SABB to pay $301m in dividends for H1

SABB to pay $301m in dividends for H1
Updated 46 min 23 sec ago

SABB to pay $301m in dividends for H1

SABB to pay $301m in dividends for H1

RIYADH: Saudi British Bank, also known as SABB, has proposed a dividend of SR1.13 billion ($301 million) for the first half of 2022.

The dividend payout per share has been set at SR0.55 for over 2 billion shares eligible for dividends which will be distributed on July 27, according to a bourse filing.

SABB, which was voted the best bank in 2022, recently appointed Yasser Ali Al-Barrak as its new CEO for corporate and institutional banking.

The bank has posted a 3 percent increase in net profit to SR1 billion in the first quarter of 2022, over SR974 in the year-ago quarter.


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

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Monday
Updated 59 min 44 sec ago

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

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

RIYADH: Saudi stocks ended their first trading session of July in red, extending losses after an 11-percent decline in June due to fears over inflation and recession.

TASI, the main benchmark index, fell 0.5 percent to 11,464 on Sunday and the parallel market, Nomu, shed 2.3 percent to 21,082.

Oman’s stock exchange declined 0.3 percent in line with Saudi Arabia.

However, the Bahraini bourse led the gains in the region as it advanced by 1.4 percent, followed by Kuwait and Qatar, up 1 and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s blue-chip index EGX30 lost as much as 2.4 percent.

In the oil market, Brent crude futures rose slightly to $112.16 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate reached $108.82 a barrel by 8:59 a.m. Saudi time on Monday.

Stock news

The Saudi British Bank, or SABB, appointed Yasser Ali Al-Barrak as its new CEO for corporate and institutional banking

SABB’s board of directors proposed a dividend distribution of SR1.13 billion ($301 million) in total, or SR0.55 per share, for the first half of 2022

Al-Khaleej Training and Education Co. entered into a non-binding agreement to potentially acquire 51 percent of Al-Minhaj Private Schools Co.

Ayyan Investment Co. named Faisal Al-Qahtani chairman of the board and Abdul Aziz Al Shaikh vice-chairman

Wafrah for Industry and Development Co.’s rights issue was 78 percent subscribed, generating SR120 million in proceeds

Jahez International Co. for Information System Technology appointed Lulua Bakr to replace audit committee chairman Abdulwahab Al-Butairi following his resignation

Saudi Basic Industries Corp.'s health insurance contract with Bupa Arabia was renewed for one year starting July 4

Calendar

July 4, 2022

Launch of single-stock futures trading on Tadawul

July 7, 2022

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


Dubai fintech YAP raises $41m to expand footprint, eyes Saudi market among others

Dubai fintech YAP raises $41m to expand footprint, eyes Saudi market among others
Updated 04 July 2022

Dubai fintech YAP raises $41m to expand footprint, eyes Saudi market among others

Dubai fintech YAP raises $41m to expand footprint, eyes Saudi market among others

RIYADH: The UAE’s fintech YAP, a leading digital banking platform, has raised $41 million in a funding round led by Saudi Arabia’s Aljazira Capital, Abu Dawood Group, Astra Group and Audacia Capital.

The company plans to complete series A funding by the end of the year and use the funds to expand its regional footprint, it said in a statement.

It recently partnered with Bank AlJazira to launch its consumer and business banking platforms in Saudi Arabia.

“There is incredible demand for fintech products in the region, and we are well placed to be a market leader to address these needs,” said Marwan Hachem, co-founder and group CEO of YAP, in the statement.

Marwan Hachem, co-founder and group CEO of YAP (Supplied)

The company has also received regulatory approval in Pakistan and Ghana to offer similar services and plans to soon launch in Egypt.

YAP offers users a simple interface with a complete view of consumer spending analytics and easy ways to transfer money and pay bills.

With no minimum balance required, the app also provides customers with real-time notifications of purchases, withdrawals, and transfers.

YAP’s product development pipeline includes a new multicurrency offering, products for children and households, equity trading, loans and buy-now-pay-later options through the YAP Store, the YAP Financial Marketplace, and the YAP Hub.

“The momentum and growth we have seen since our launch validate the need for the YAP platform throughout the region. We look forward to expanding into new markets and enhancing our offering in the months ahead with these investments,” Anas Zaidan, co-founder and managing director of YAP, said in the statement.

Since its launch in 2021, the platform has provided over 130,000 users with an extensive database of resources at their fingertips to become expert money managers.


Oil Updates — Crude slips on recession fear; Algeria’s oil, gas earnings climb; Planned strike could cut Norwegian gas output

Oil Updates — Crude slips on recession fear; Algeria’s oil, gas earnings climb; Planned strike could cut Norwegian gas output
Updated 04 July 2022

Oil Updates — Crude slips on recession fear; Algeria’s oil, gas earnings climb; Planned strike could cut Norwegian gas output

Oil Updates — Crude slips on recession fear; Algeria’s oil, gas earnings climb; Planned strike could cut Norwegian gas output

RIYADH: Oil prices fell on Monday, paring gains from the previous session, as fears of a global recession weighed on the market even as supply remains tight amid lower OPEC output, unrest in Libya and sanctions on Russia.

Brent crude futures for September slipped 36 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $111.27 a barrel at 0300 GMT, having jumped 2.4 percent on Friday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures for August delivery dropped 34 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $108.09 a barrel, after climbing 2.5 percent on Friday.

Algeria’s oil, gas earnings up 70 percent in first five months of 2022

Algeria’s oil and gas earnings are up 70 percent and have reached $21.5 billion in the five first months of 2022, compared to $12.6 billion in the same period last year, an executive at state oil and gas producer Sonatrach told reporters on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sonatrach’s CEO, Tewfik Hakkar told reporters on Sunday that the country is negotiating with all its clients to review gas prices. 

Hakkar added that the review of the prices is not targeting a single company or country.

Norway strike could cut gas output by 13 percent next week

A planned strike next week by Norwegian energy sector workers could cut the country’s gas output by 292,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, or 13 percent of output, employers’ group the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said on Sunday.

Oil output could be cut by 130,000 barrels per day, NOG added, corresponding to around 6.5 percent of Norway’s production, according to a Reuters calculation.

The strike, in which workers are demanding wage hikes to compensate for rising inflation, comes at a time of high oil and gas prices, with supplies of natural gas to Europe particularly tight after Russian export cutbacks.

Members of the Lederne labor union, who make up around 15 percent of the country’s offshore petroleum workers, on Thursday voted down a proposed wage agreement that had been negotiated by companies and union leaders.

As a result, they plan to begin a strike at three offshore fields on July 5, and to add three more fields the following day unless a solution is found.

A seventh field, Tyrihans, will have to shut down because its output is processed from the nearby Kristin field, which will shut down.

The parties have been talking, but no progress has been made.

(With inputs from Reuters)