Cryptocurrencies plummet: Bitcoin falls below $19,000, Ether sinks past $1,000

Update Cryptocurrencies plummet: Bitcoin falls below $19,000, Ether sinks past $1,000
The price of the most popular cryptocurrency had plunged as much as 9.7 percent to less than $18,600 by late afternoon on the East Coast, according to the cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 19 June 2022

Cryptocurrencies plummet: Bitcoin falls below $19,000, Ether sinks past $1,000

Cryptocurrencies plummet: Bitcoin falls below $19,000, Ether sinks past $1,000
  • Ethereum, another widely followed cryptocurrency that has been sliding in recent weeks, took a similar tumble Saturday

RIYADH: Cryptocurrencies plummeted in the market with Bitcoin falling below $19,000 and Ether dropping past $1,000, as fears of a broad economic recession are looming over business verticals. 

Bitcoin, the world’s leading cryptocurrency fell 9.57 percent on Sunday, and is being traded at $18,459 as of 07.53 a.m Saudi time. 

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency is priced at $963, down 10.60 percent, according to data from Coindesk. 

A Bloomberg report revealed that Bitcoin’s value drastically plummeted by 15 percent on Saturday, and at one point in time, it reached $17,599. Ether fell as much as 19 percent to $881 on Saturday, the lowest since January 2021. 

Data from Coinglass suggested that total liquidations in the Crypto market were around $566 million in the last 24 hours, with Bitcoin and Ether at around $271 million and $192 million respectively. 

Bitcoin has now lost almost 70 percent of its value since it reached its peak in November 2021, when the virtual currency was valued at over $68,000. 

The cryptocurrency industry has seen turmoil amid wider turbulence in financial markets — this past week was Wall Street’s worst since 2020, during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Investors are selling off riskier assets because central banks are raising interest rates to combat quickening inflation. Higher rates can help bring down inflation, but they also heighten the chances of a recession by increasing borrowing costs for consumers and businesses and pushing down prices for stocks, and other investments like cryptocurrencies.
The overall market value of cryptocurrency assets has fallen from $3 trillion to less than $1 trillion, according to, which tracks crypto prices. As of Saturday afternoon the company’s data showed crypto’s global market value stood at about $816 billion.
A spate of cryptocurrency meltdowns has sparked urgent calls to regulate the freewheeling industry, and last week bipartisan legislation was introduced in the US Senate to regulate the digital assets. The industry has also upped its lobbying efforts, flooding $20 million into congressional races this year for the first time, according to records and interviews.
Cesare Fracassi, a finance professor at the University of Texas at Austin who leads the school’s Blockchain Initiative, believes bitcoin’s fall under the psychological threshold isn’t a big deal. Instead, he said the focus should be on recent news from lending platforms.
One of them, Celsius Network, said this month that it was pausing all withdrawals and transfers, with no sign of when it would give its 1.7 million customers access to their funds. Another platform, Babel Finance, said in a notice posted online Friday that it would suspend redemptions and withdrawals on products due to “unusual liquidity pressures.”
“There is a lot of turbulence in the market,” Fracassi said. “And the reason why prices are going down is because there is a lot of concern the sector is overleveraged.”
Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase announced Tuesday that it had laid off about 18 percent of its workforce, with CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong placing some of the blame on a coming “crypto winter.”
Stablecoin Terra imploded last month, losing tens of billions of dollars in value in a matter of hours.
Crypto had permeated much of popular culture before its recent tumble, with Super Bowl ads touting the digital assets and celebrities and YouTube personalities routinely promoting it on social media.
David Gerard, a crypto critic and author of “Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain,” said the recent meltdowns show a failure by regulators, who he believes should have put more scrutiny on the industry years ago.
Many nascent investors — especially young people — invested based on a false hope that was sold to them, he said: “There are real human victims here that are ordinary people.
Alex Diaz, the administrator of a Facebook group for Bitcoin enthusiasts, said he believes the bitcoin crash is not the fault of bitcoin but of parallel developments in the cryptocurrency space, some of which are “just schemes or outright scams.”
“What it will take to recover is just time,” Diaz said.

(With inputs from AP)

IMF says risks to financial stability have increased, calls for vigilance

IMF says risks to financial stability have increased, calls for vigilance
Updated 9 sec ago

IMF says risks to financial stability have increased, calls for vigilance

IMF says risks to financial stability have increased, calls for vigilance

RIYADH: International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Sunday that risks to financial stability have increased and called for continued vigilance although actions by advanced economies have calmed market stress.

Speaking during the first day of the China Development Forum, Georgieva noted that 2023 poses yet another challenging and thought-provoking year with an expected global growth rate slowing to below 3 percent.  

This is mainly attributed to the repercussion of the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, as well as monetary tightening, the IMF chief explained.  

Even though progressive economies have attempted to compose market stress, the overall outlook for 2024 remains weak with the growth rate estimated to stand below the historic average of 3.8 percent, she pointed out.

"So, we continue to monitor developments closely and are assessing potential implications for the global economic outlook and global financial stability," Georgieva reassured. 

Moreover, when it comes to vulnerable and low-income countries with high levels of debt, she emphasized that the IMF is paying close attention to those in order to further support them.  

In addition to this, there is a risk of the world splitting into rival economic blocs, resulting in "a dangerous division that would leave everyone poorer and less secure," as a consequence of geo-economic fragmentation, Georgieva warned. 

That said, China has a significant role to play with regard to minimizing the risks of financial instability. It has been forecasted that every one percentage point boost in China’s gross domestic product results in a 0.3 percentage point rise in growth in other Asian economies, she said. 

Consequently, policymakers in China are urged to focus on further raising productivity while rebalancing the economy and shifting away from investment while moving towards more sturdy consumption-driven growth.

According to conjectures, such reforms are capable of lifting real GDP by as much as 2.5 percent by 2027, and by around 18 percent by 2037, explained. 

The China Development Forum is an annual high-level global conference held in China right after the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference each year. 

This year, the forum is taking place from March 25 up until March 27 under the theme “Economic Recovery: Opportunities and Cooperation.” 

The conference poses an opportunity for participants to connect with political, economic, and significant decision-makers in the Asian country. 



Aramco forms JV with Chinese entities to construct refinery, petchem complex 

Aramco forms JV with Chinese entities to construct refinery, petchem complex 
Updated 33 min 17 sec ago

Aramco forms JV with Chinese entities to construct refinery, petchem complex 

Aramco forms JV with Chinese entities to construct refinery, petchem complex 

RIYADH: Global energy giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co. has inked a deal with China’s Norinco Group and Panjin Xincheng Industrial Group to form a joint venture to construct a refinery and petrochemical complex in the Asian giant’s Liaoning province. 

Saudi Aramco will own 30 percent stakes in the joint venture called Hujain Aramco Petrochemical Co., while Norinco Group and Panjin Xincheng Industrial Group will hold 51 percent and 19 percent shares respectively, said a press release.

It noted that the facility in the city of Panjin will combine a 300,000 barrels per day refinery and a petrochemical plant with an annual production capacity of 1.65 million metric tons of ethylene and 2 million metric tons of paraxylene. 

“We see a major win-win opportunity to build a world-leading, integrated downstream sector in China, with special emphasis on the high conversion of liquids directly into chemicals as part of our broader liquid-to-chemicals business expansion plans,” said Aramco CEO Amin Nasser. 

He added: “This important project will support China’s growing demand across fuel and chemical products. It also represents a major milestone in our ongoing downstream expansion strategy in China and the wider region, which is an increasingly significant driver of global petrochemical demand.”

Aramco will supply up to 210,000 barrels per day of crude oil feedstock to the Liaoning refinery project. The construction of this new refinery will begin in the second quarter of 2023, and it is expected to be fully operational by 2026.

Norinco Group Deputy General Manager Zou Wenchao said that the new venture will “play an important role in deepening economic and trade cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia and achieving common development and prosperity.”

“The project is of great significance for Panjin to promote increasing chemicals and specialty products, strengthening the integration of the refining and chemical industry. It is a symbolic project for Panjin as it seeks to accelerate the development of an important national petrochemical and fine chemical industry base,” said Jia Fei, Panjin Xincheng chairman of the board.

Dubai Customs’ Consultative Council approves Agenda D33 to double its economy by 2033 

Dubai Customs’ Consultative Council approves Agenda D33 to double its economy by 2033 
Updated 42 min 5 sec ago

Dubai Customs’ Consultative Council approves Agenda D33 to double its economy by 2033 

Dubai Customs’ Consultative Council approves Agenda D33 to double its economy by 2033 

RIYADH: The Dubai Customs’ Consultative Council has commended the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 which aims to double Dubai’s economy under 100 transformative projects by 2033. 

The initial set of projects includes doubling Dubai’s foreign trade volume and adding 400 cities to its global trade map. 

The council also emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors to achieve these objectives. 

Members of the council noted that the agenda will enhance Dubai's competitiveness and reinforce its central position in the global economy, further solidifying its status as the preferred destination for businesses and traders. 

The council’s goal is to offer innovative and intelligent services to streamline customs procedures and facilitate traders in line with Dubai’s vision. 

Dubai Customs completed 26 million customs transactions in the first quarter of the year, representing huge growth, according to WAM. 

Dubai International Airport was the world's top airport for international passengers, with a 127 percent increase from 29.1 million passengers in 2021 to 66 million passengers in 2022. 

Telecom operator Zain KSA posts record profit of $147m in 2022 

Telecom operator Zain KSA posts record profit of $147m in 2022 
Updated 26 March 2023

Telecom operator Zain KSA posts record profit of $147m in 2022 

Telecom operator Zain KSA posts record profit of $147m in 2022 

RIYADH: Profits of Zain KSA, formally known as Mobile Telecommunication Co. Saudi Arabia, reached a record high of SR550 million ($146.7 million) in 2022.  

The telecom operator’s profit surged 157 percent from SR214 million in the same period a year earlier on the back of higher revenue, according to a filing to the Saudi Exchange. 

Its revenue rose from SR7.9 billion in 2021 to SR9 billion in 2022, driven by growth in business-to-business, 5G and other revenue streams.  

In addition, revenue increased due to the post-pandemic return of international visitors and the growth in Tamam revenue. 

“Zain KSA’s 2022 financial results reflect the qualitative shift in its financial, operational, and developmental performance, as well as the ongoing impact of its strategy,” said Chairman Naif Al Kabeer. 

He added that this achievement was led by enhancing customer experience and expanding in future technologies.  

It was also backed by investing in parallel markets while continuing to strengthen governance to ensure sustainable growth and earnings, noted the chairman.  

The filing added that despite a 25 percent increase in the cost of revenues during that year, the gross profit rose by SR431 million or 9 percent. 

Furthermore, the company’s operating expenses rose by SR404 million, while amortization and depreciation dropped by SR364 million.  

This was “due to the reclassification of the tower's assets to assets held for sale concerning the announced disposal plan of the telecom towers,” noted the bourse statement.  

To develop the quality of services provided to its clients, the company invested a capital expenditure of SR915 million in 2022.  

Zain KSA’s financing cost increased by SR85 million last year, due to the increase in the reference price of the financing cost in Saudi riyals known as SIBOR, and the reference price of the financing cost in US dollars known as LIBOR.  

For the fiscal year 2022, the company’s board of directors recommended the distribution of a 5 percent cash dividend, or SR0.5 per share.  

The Saudi telecom company also suggested SR449.4 million of cash dividends distributed to shareholders, for 898.7 million shares.  

Zain KSA succeeded in achieving the targets it set five years ago, making 2022 a year of qualitative transformation in the telco's operations and profits, noted its CEO Sultan Al-Deghaither. 

Saudi Arabia welcomed 2.5m foreign visitors in February 

Saudi Arabia welcomed 2.5m foreign visitors in February 
Updated 26 March 2023

Saudi Arabia welcomed 2.5m foreign visitors in February 

Saudi Arabia welcomed 2.5m foreign visitors in February 

RIYADH: The number of foreign visitors who arrived in Saudi Arabia increased to 2.5 million in February from 2.4 million in January, according to the minister of tourism. 

Speaking at the fifth monthly virtual meeting with investors and citizens in the tourism sector, Ahmed Al-Khateeb stated that the Kingdom has recorded “historical figures,” in terms of occupancy rates and the number of visitors.  

He said that the ministry had trained over 100,000 young Saudi men and women with SR400 million ($106.48 million) spent to upskill them. He added that “their employment is the responsibility of the ministry and hence everyone should cooperate to achieve this goal.”  

Al-Khateeb highlighted the importance of industry players to adhere to new regulations set by the ministry, adding that “the ministry will play its role in terms of monitoring and imposing penalties on violators, especially violations of tourist guides.”  

“The ministry is keen to have qualified guides working in this field, who must have acquired correct, sufficient, accurate and flawless information,” he stated.  

Om Dec. 26, the Ministry of Tourism launched 10 new regulations to develop the tourism sector to keep pace with the growth that Saudi Arabia is witnessing in diverse fields.  

The new regulations encompass the tourism hospitality facility, travel and tourism services, tourist guides, tourism hospitality facilities management, tourism consultancy, private tourist hospitality facility, experimental activities, an inspection of tourism activities, and the committees to consider violations of the tourism law and tourist destinations.  

Al-Khateeb stressed that the regulations issued by the ministry are clear, and must be adhered to by all workers in the sector without exception.