RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Wednesday, down 4.42 percent to $38,816 as of 10.45 a.m. Riyadh time.
Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $2,879, down 4.26 percent, according to data from Coindesk.
Mining report shows Bitcoin’s electricity consumption decreased by 25% in Q1 2022
The bitcoin mining industry continues to improve its sustainable energy use and technological efficiency, according to the latest Bitcoin Mining Council, or BMC, report.
At the end of May last year, Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, convinced Bitcoin industry leaders to form a BMC and in mid-July, it launched its public services and website.
The BMC survey for the first quarter of 2022 presents three metrics which include: “electricity consumption, technological efficiency, and sustainable power mix.”
BMC researchers were able to survey nearly 50 percent of the network’s hashpower on March 31, 2022.
The survey indicated that 64.6 percent of all respondents benefit from electricity with a sustainable power mix, Bitcoin.com reported.
“Based on this data it is estimated that the global bitcoin mining industry’s sustainable electricity mix is now 58.4 percent or had increased approximately 59 percent year-on-year, from the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, making it one of the most sustainable industries globally,” the BMC said in the report.
Michael Saylor, CEO of Microstrategy — an American company that provides business intelligence, mobile software and cloud-based services — also made a statement in BMC’s fourth quarterly report.
“In the first quarter of 2022, the hashrate and related security of the Bitcoin network improved by 23 percent year-on-year, while energy usage decreased 25 percent,” Saylor said.
He added: “We observed a 63 percent year-on-year increase in efficiency due to advances in semiconductor technology, the rapid expansion of North American mining, the China Exodus, and the worldwide adoption of sustainable energy and modern bitcoin mining techniques.”
Robinhood to cut its workforce
Retail trading platform Robinhood Markets Inc., said on Tuesday it is laying off about 9 percent of its full-time employees, sending its shares down 5 percent in extended trade.
The company, which is reporting its quarterly results later this week, said the rapid headcount growth has led to some duplicate roles and job functions.
As of Dec. 31, the company’s total headcount was 3,800.
Robinhood’s easy-to-use interface has made it a hit among young investors trading from home on cryptocurrencies and stocks such as GameStop Corp. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will continue to accelerate our product momentum through 2022 and will introduce key new products across brokerage, crypto and spending/saving,” CEO Vlad Tenev wrote in a blog post.
Revolut eyes expansion into crypto wallets, mortgages
Digital banking platform Revolut is working on expanding into decentralized cryptocurrency wallets and is also looking at the mortgage sector, its CEO said, as the London-based company pushes ahead with its strategy to become a so-called “super-app.”
Revolut, which currently offers payments services, crypto trading, savings accounts and stock trading, is focused in the short-term on expanding its remittance offerings and launching a buy now, pay later product.
But the financial technology company has more work to do to become a one-stop-shop for financial services, said CEO Nik Storonsky.
“For example… decentralized wallets, and enabling deposits, withdrawals of crypto [and] staking, lending — that’s another piece that we’re missing and we’re working on,” he told Reuters.
He added that it’s also important for the company to consider expanding into mortgages since home loans “are quite an important part of consumer financial life.”
Fidelity to allow retirement savings allocation to Bitcoin in 401(k) accounts
.@Fidelity announces launch of industry’s first offering that will enable individuals to have a portion of their retirement savings allocated to bitcoin through the core #401k plan investment lineup. https://t.co/auMhm9xKtN pic.twitter.com/EY3IfsFWJD
— FidelityNews (@FidelityNews) April 26, 2022
Fidelity Investments said on Tuesday it will allow individuals to allocate part of their retirement savings in Bitcoin through their 401(k) investment plans, becoming the first major retirement plan provider to do so.
The family-controlled asset manager said MicroStrategy Inc., a major Bitcoin corporate backer, will be the first employer to use the new product, which will be made available to other employers by the middle of the year.
Through the new offering, employees will be able to invest in Bitcoin through a Digital Assets Account within the core lineup of their 401(k) plans, Fidelity said.
Fidelity also said that Newfront, a retirement consulting services provider, has indicated that the DAA will help address a growing need among their client base.
Plan sponsors will be able to decide on employee contributions in the DAA and set limits on exchanging such contributions to Bitcoin, Fidelity said, adding that additional updates on the new offering will be made available in the coming months.
(With inputs from Reuters)
MUMBAI: India has decided to go ahead with state-run Life Insurance Corp’s initial public offering in May, due to strong market demand and a “solid” anchor investor base, a top finance ministry official said on Wednesday.
India expects to raise up to $2.74 billion from selling a 3.5 percent stake in LIC’s IPO, just a third of its original target, and is set to open on May 2 for anchor investors.
Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary at the department of investment and public asset management, said the size of the LIC IPO is “optimal” in current market conditions. The government had originally planned to sell a 5 percent stake in the company.
Tata’s Air India proposes to buy AirAsia India
Tata Group-owned Air India has proposed to buy the entire equity share capital of low-cost carrier AirAsia India, in which Tata has a majority stake, to merge into a single airline, according to an application with India’s competition commission.
The autos-to-steel conglomerate bought state-run carrier Air India in a $2.4 billion equity-and-debt deal, regaining ownership of what used to be India’s flagship carrier after nearly 70 years.
Tata Sons has an 83.67 percent stake in AirAsia India.
“This was expected, as it makes no sense for the Tata Group to own stakes in separate airlines,” said Vinamra Longani, head of operations at Sarin & Co, a law firm specializing in aircraft leasing and finance.
“The Tata Group has embarked on what will go down in history as possibly one of the most challenging airline realignments or turnarounds.”
While Air India has lucrative landing slots, Tata faces an uphill task to upgrade the airline’s aging fleet and turn around its financials and service levels.
France’s Atos moves Russian services to India and Turkey
Atos is moving services currently delivered from Russia to other countries, including India and Turkey, the French IT consulting group said on Wednesday in light of the conflict in Ukraine.
The feasibility of exiting Russia has required significant planning in terms of implications for business operations and employees based there, the company said in an earnings statement.
ONGC struggling to move Russian oil to Asia as sanctions bite
India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp., also known as ONGC, is struggling to find a vessel to ship 700,000 barrels of crude from Russia’s Far East, in a growing sign that complex trades involving one of Moscow’s biggest partners are being interrupted by Western sanctions, sources said.
Several Indian companies including ONGC have stakes in Russian oil and gas assets, and India has been buying more Russian crude since Moscow invaded Ukraine, snapping up the popular Urals crude grade, while other buyers have shunned Russian exports.
ONGC has a 20 percent stake in the Sakhalin 1 project that produces a Russian grade known as Sokol, which ONGC exports through tenders. Sokol is mostly bought by North Asian buyers and loaded from South Korea.
However, Moscow’s ability to ship that grade, which requires vessels that can break through ice, is becoming harder due to concerns from shippers over reputational risk, and the increasing difficulty for Russian assets to find insurance coverage.
Shipping companies are also less willing to move Russian oil in Asia, fearing the potential reputational risks involved with charters, the shipping sources added.
(With inputs from Reuters)
Russia may see its oil production fall by as much as 17 percent in 2022, an economy ministry’s document seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday, as the country struggles with Western sanctions.
According to the document, Russian oil output may decline to between 433.8 million and 475.3 million tons (between 8.68 million and 9.5 million barrels per day) in 2022 from 524 million tons in 2021.
Exports of oil and gas are also expected to decline this year, the document showed.
BEIJING: China stocks rebounded sharply from two-year lows on Wednesday, buoyed by hopes that the country would prioritize economic growth and fine-tune its draconian anti-virus policies.
The blue-chip CSI300 index jumped 2.9 percent to 3,895.54, after touching its lowest since April 2020 in morning trade.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.5 percent to 2,958.28.
China lockdowns raise earnings risk for chip firms and automakers
Industrial firms including GE, chipmakers such SK Hynix and automaker Mercedes Benz warned that China’s strict COVID-19 curbs were intensifying supply chain disruptions, and raising uncertainty about the business outlook.
China’s “zero Covid” policy to combat the omicron variant has brought fresh lockdowns, forcing factories to shut and worsening a global supply chain logjam.
More than 40 cities are in total or partial lockdown, and Shanghai, the country’s financial capital, has been isolated for over a month.
That has cast a pall over financial markets worried about a hit to the world economy that is only just recovering from the pandemic-led slump.
And even as companies scramble to keep up with soaring costs of everything from labor to raw materials, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and related Western sanctions have driven up energy prices.
“Collectively, supply chain issues, the Russia-Ukraine war and China COVID impacts adversely affected revenue in the quarter by about 6 percentage points,” General Electric CEO Larry Culp said on Tuesday.
Berlin stops Chinese firm from buying German medical device maker
The German government has stopped a Chinese company from purchasing a German medical device manufacturer, citing public safety concerns, German daily Handelsblatt reported Wednesday.
Beijing-based Aeonmed Group, which also makes medical devices, is prevented from purchasing Heyer Medical AG based on a government assessment that there were dangers to public safety, said Handelsblatt, citing German government sources.
The ban would go to the cabinet on Wednesday, it added.
In 2020, Germany tightened rules to protect domestic firms from unwanted takeovers by investors from non-European Union countries, concerned about increased investment in critical sectors by Chinese enterprises.
The pandemic had shown the German government that it was important for the country to maintain its own producers, Handelsblatt cited government sources as saying.
Aeonmed Group had already formally completed the takeover in March 2020, but now it is no longer valid, said Handelsblatt.
(With inputs from Reuters)
RIYADH: The Saudi Food and Drug Authority has announced that it will lift the temporary ban imposed on importing meat and eggs from Denmark, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The decision was taken based on follow up with international reports related to food safety in countries worldwide.
One report issued by the World Organization for Animal Health confirmed that the highly pathogenic avian influenza did not appear from that region.
Founded in 2003, the Food and Drug Authority stressed that it will only lift any temporary bans imposed on livestock and poultry meat imports from countries and regions where a report is available from one of the recognized international organizations, stating that the causes of the ban have either been controlled or have been eliminated.
In addition, a report regarding the health situation issued by the official supervisory authority of the country at hand will be required to prove that some sort of control exists over the causes of the ban.
RIYADH: Countries are moving focus away from Russia’s war with Ukraine and paying close attention to securing their respective economic interests.
Both the US and South Africa are allocating significant amounts to back up their energy transition plans.
On a micro level, instability prevails as Russia’s Gazprom announced that it will halt gas flows into some European countries and the US’ Solar Energy Industries Association confirmed a bulk of solar projects are either being canceled or delayed.
Looking at the bigger picture:
Through a micro lens: