RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Monday, down 1.29 percent to $39,166 at 08.30 a.m. Riyadh time.
Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,866, down 2.73 percent, according to data from Coindesk.
US Lawmakers call for more oversight of cryptocurrency’s environmental impacts
Twenty-three US lawmakers have called for the US Environmental Protection Agency, known as EPA, to increase oversight of the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies.
“We request that the EPA evaluate ‘Proof-of-Work’ mining facilities’ compliance with environmental statutes,” they said.
“We have serious concerns regarding reports that cryptocurrency facilities across the country are polluting communities and are having an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.”
Among other claims, the lawmakers asserted that Proof-of-Work, known as PoW, mining contributes to significant greenhouse gas emissions and results in major electronic waste challenges due to the highly specialized and short-lived computing hardware needed to secure the network.
The lawmakers added: “The industry needs to be held accountable for this waste and discouraged from creating it.”
While the Congress members pointed out that “less energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining technologies, such as Proof-of-Stake, known as PoS, are available.”
In January Coinshares published a report showing that bitcoin’s mining infrastructure accounts for 0.08 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide production today, Bitcoin.com reported.
“Usage of energy is a contentious and much-misunderstood function of the Bitcoin monetary system,” Coinshares said.
Proof of Work algorithms reward miners for solving complex equations that consume a lot of time and energy, while the Proof of Stake algorithm does not consume much power
Indian banks block UPI for crypto transactions, seek explanation
According to a report published in the Economic Times, several leading Indian banks have asked the National Payments Corporation of India to clarify and issue a formal regulatory directive regarding the usage of UPI in cryptocurrency payments.
According to the report, several banks had blocked UPI for trading crypto based on “verbal instructions” from NPCI, and now they demand it in writing.
Coinbase CEO accuses Apple
Meanwhile, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has called Apple unfriendly toward the cryptocurrency industry in a recent podcast.
“Apple so far has not really played nice with crypto; they’ve actually banned a bunch of features that we would like to have in the app, but they just won’t allow it,” said Armstrong.
He also added that soon phone makers would build smartphones with crypto functionality in mind.
KUALA LUMPUR: Countries should pause or slow down the use of edible oil as biofuel to ensure adequate supply for use in food, a state-backed Malaysian palm oil group said on Monday, warning of a supply “crisis” following an Indonesian ban on palm oil exports.
Indonesia, which is the world’s top producer and exporter of the edible oil, on Friday said the ban will commence on April 28, in a shock move that could inflame surging global food inflation and constrain supplies.
Global edible oil supplies were already choked by adverse weather and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and now consumers around the world will have no option but to pay top dollar for supplies.
“Exporting countries and importing countries need to have their priorities right, this is the time to temporarily reconsider food versus fuel priorities,” said director general of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir.
“It’s very important for countries to ensure available oils and fats are used for food and … temporarily stop or reduce their biodiesel mandates,” he said, adding that countries could continue their existing biodiesel mandates once supply returns to normal.
Palm oil, the most widely used edible oil, is also used as a biodiesel feedstock.
Indonesia and Malaysia have made it mandatory for a certain amount of palm oil to be used for biofuel, and just last month said they remain committed to those mandates despite higher palm prices.
Other countries also make biofuels from animal fats and plant oils like corn and soy.
Demand for such biofuels has boomed in recent years due to climate change mitigation efforts.
Malaysia, which accounts for 31 percent of global palm oil supply, is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil after Indonesia, which makes up 56 percent.
Producers in Malaysia are facing a pandemic-induced labor shortage and said they cannot meet the gap left in global supply by Indonesia’s ban.
Malaysia also needs to look at its stock and production forecast to ensure local demand is not neglected while fulfilling global demand, Ahmad Parveez said.
Following Indonesia’s announcement, Chicago soy oil futures surged to their highest since 2008 while crude palm oil futures rallied to their highest in six weeks.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main stock market, TASI, closed lower on Sunday in line with other major Middle Eastern bourses.
At the closing bell, TASI was down 0.5 percent at 13,463, while Nomu was almost flat at 23,832.
Stock exchanges in Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait all dropped between 0.3 and 0.5 percent.
In energy trading, oil prices plunged nearly 4 percent today on the back of demand concerns.
Brent crude went down to $102.7 a barrel and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate reached $98.27 a barrel as of 9:34 a.m. Saudi time.
Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. saw its net profit decline by 57.5 percent in the first quarter of 2022
The National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia, better known as Bahri, profit surged 49 percent to SR64.9 million ($17 million) during the first quarter of 2022
State-owned Saudi Electricity Co. announced its intention to fully redeem its SR5.7 billion local sukuk
Yanbu Cement Co. saw its net profit drop by 47 percent to SR38.9 million in the first quarter of this year
MUMBAI: Shares of Future Group companies fell sharply on Monday, some as much as 20 percent, after India’s biggest retailer Reliance called off its $3.4 billion deal with the group over the weekend, pushing its flagship Future Retail towards possible bankruptcy.
Shares of Future Supply Chain Solutions, Future Retail, Future Lifestyle Fashions, Future Consumer and Future Enterprises fell between 5 percent and 20 percent.
With Reliance calling off the deal, Future, once one of India’s biggest retailers, now faces the prospect of a bankruptcy process.
UBS trims India growth forecast
Meanwhile, UBS Group AG has cut India’s 2022-23 economic growth forecast by 70 basis points to 7 percent on Friday, citing slowing global growth due to high commodity prices, and weak local demand because of energy price hikes, inflationary pressures and a struggling labor market.
The downgrade comes a week after the World Bank lowered its economic growth forecast for India and the whole of South Asia, citing worsening supply bottlenecks and rising inflation risks along with the Ukraine Russia crisis.
“We believe the pass-through of high global commodity prices to the real economy will affect households’ purchasing power and company margins, and constrain the fiscal space available for capex,” UBS economist Tanvee Gupta Jain said in a note.
India meets nearly 80 percent of its oil needs through imports and rising crude prices push up the country’s trade and current account deficit while also hurting the rupee and fueling imported inflation.
The Reserve Bank of India earlier this month raised its inflation forecast for the current fiscal year to 5.7 percent, 120 basis points above its forecast in February, while cutting its economic growth estimate to 7.2 percent from 7.8 percent.
UBS expects India’s gross domestic product growth to settle at a rate of 6 percent per annum beyond 2023.
(With inputs from Reuters)
BEIJING: China’s yuan fell to a one-year low against the dollar on Monday, extending losses after posting its worst week since 2015. A worsening economic growth outlook drove investors’ concerns that the currency had more room to fall.
Investor sentiment strained further on fears that strict lockdown measures would spread to Beijing after the capital city required everyone living or working in Chaoyang district to take three COVID-19 tests this week and put more than a dozen buildings under lockdown.
On Monday, the People’s Bank of China set the yuan’s midpoint rate at 6.4909 per dollar before the market opened, the weakest level since August 2021 and not far from Reuters’ estimate of 6.4873.
Both onshore and offshore yuan breached the key 6.55 per dollar in the spot market, touching their weakest levels since April 2021, before trading at 6.5412 and 6.5715, respectively, as of midday.
Foxconn unit sees limited impact from suspended China plant
Operations at a Taiwan-based Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn unit in China’s Kunshan city remain suspended because of COVID-19 controls. Still, there is limited impact as it has shifted production elsewhere, it said on Monday.
The operations in Kunshan of Foxconn Interconnect Technology, which makes data transmission equipment and connectors, will remain closed until the authorities permit it to restart, the company said.
“As production has previously been deployed to backup factories, the factory’s main products are located in an overseas shipping warehouse, and inventory levels are still sufficient, and the impact on the company’s business is limited,” Foxconn said in a statement.
A source familiar with the situation said the plant is not a major supplier of Apple products, and the company was able to shift production to other facilities.
“We do not see an impact on iPhones,” the person said.
(With inputs from Reuters)
RIYADH: Gold prices dipped on Monday to their lowest in more than two weeks, as bets for an increasingly aggressive and hawkish US Federal Reserve approach to tightening monetary policy boosted the dollar and pressured demand for bullion.
Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,923.74 per ounce at 0321 GMT, hitting its lowest since April 7.
US gold futures were down 0.6 percent at $1,923.30.
Silver, Palladium down
Spot silver dipped 1 percent to $23.89 per ounce, while platinum eased 0.4 percent to $927.00.
Palladium fell 2.9 percent to $2,305.69.
Soyoil climbs after Indonesian palm oil export ban
Chicago soyoil futures gained more ground on Monday to trade near their highest since 2008, as Indonesia’s decision to ban exports of rival palm oil heightened concerns about global edible oil supplies.
The most-active soybean oil contract on the Chicago Board of Trade added 1.3 percent to 81.59 cents per pound at 0201 GMT. Dalian palm oil futures rose 3.5 percent, while soyoil DBYcv1 added 1.5 percent.
Chicago wheat futures rose 0.5 percent to $10.80-1/2 a bushel.
Corn slid 0.3 percent to $7.87 a bushel.
Malaysia urges countries to review food v/s fuel priorities
On Monday, Malaysia’s palm oil board said it is time for governments to review their food versus fuel priorities, as Indonesia’s palm oil exports ban has ignited a global edible oil shortage crisis.
“It’s very important for countries to ensure available oils and fats are used for food and…temporarily stop or reduce their biodiesel mandates,” director-general of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board Ahmad Parveez Ghulam Kadir told Reuters.
Palm oil, the most widely used edible oil, is also used as biodiesel feedstock.
Malaysia is the world’s second-largest producer of palm oil after Indonesia. However, its producers have said they cannot meet the global supply gap triggered by Indonesia’s ban on palm oil exports which is due to come into effect on April 28.
(With inputs from Reuters)