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RIYADH: The world’s largest digital currency, Bitcoin, fell to its lowest level since July 2021, as slumping equity markets continued to hurt cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin fell 3.7 percent in early Monday trading to $33,531, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.  
The decline in Bitcoin follows a broad retreat in crypto assets amid a global flight from risky investments.
The price of ether, the second-largest currency, fell by as much as 4.6 percent. 
During the same period, the Nikkei gauge fell by 2.5 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index sank by 1.2 percent.
A sell-off gripped the entire cryptocurrency universe on Monday, with Cardano down 8.4 percent and Polkadot down 6.7 percent.
Markets across the globe are becoming more cautious, as monetary policy is tightened to combat inflation and ebbing liquidity.
Rising interest rates are giving individual and institutional investors pause for thought about the crypto market outlook, according to Edul Patel, CEO of Mudrex, an algorithm-based crypto investment platform.
“The downward trend is likely to continue for the next few days,” he said, adding that Bitcoin could test the $30,000 level.
DUBAI: As the business world is increasingly fascinated by the Metaverse, Noah Raford, futurist-in-chief and chief of Global Affairs at Dubai Future Foundation, claimed that investing in this advanced technology is just a waste of time. 
While speaking at the Top CEO Forum, Raford argued that people should invest in video games, as it is the only successful digital economy so far. 
However, Fady Kassatly, partner of Enterprise Solutions and Cloud, KPMG, said the Metaverse is nothing but the next evolution, which will make people live differently. 
He also added the Metaverse is going to evolve quickly in different directions, and this is just the beginning of the journey. 
On his part, Philippe Blanchard, founder of Futurous, stated the Metaverse will change the relationship between humans and nature. 
Predicting an inevitable Metaverse future, Valerie Hawley, Director of Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence, said every business will look at the Metaverse space and consider using it in the coming years. 
She also added the Metaverse is a projection of the world that humans would like to live in. 
DUBAI: Blockchain technology is transforming “internet of information into internet of value,” according to Saqr Mashhor Ereiqat, the co-founder of Crypto Oasis. 
While speaking at a session in the Top CEO Forum, Ereiqat also noted that the majority of the people use the Internet, but do not know how it works.
Ereiqat added that he used to advise governments on how they can use blockchain to benefit them. He, however, made it clear that governments like to control the network they offer.  
Ereiqat also noted that blockchain provides a way to trace a value from beginning to end. 
Franck Mandon, chief operating officer of Nujumz, during the session told that blockchain is going to transform the way humans trusted each other. 
However, Paritosh Ghambir, partner audit KPMG, noted that most clients need education about blockchain. 
Gambhir added: “Just because it is a blockchain does not mean it could be fully trusted.” 
RIYADH: Tight Covid-19 controls are seen exacerbating China’s economic stance. America’s Goldman Sachs revised the Asian country’s gross domestic product downwards to 4 percent. The country’s stocks also fell on Wednesday due to the lockdown consequences. On top of this, several factories and plans are expected to leave the country in light of rising labor costs, worsening trade tensions with the US, and Covid-19 impacts. Meanwhile, some buyers are eyeing liquified natural gas demand rebound as covid-19 is expected to unwind soon.
·      American multinational investment bank and financial services company Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has revised China’s GDP downwards to 4 percent, down from 4.5 percent previously, Bloomberg reported, citing economic data from April. In addition to this, the investment banking company also cut forecasts for the second quarter to 1.5 percent year-on-year, down from 4 percent originally. 
·      China’s stocks dropped on Wednesday amid fears that government stimulus and policies will not be enough to help the economy recover from COVID-19 repercussions. This comes as China’s blue-chip index, also referred to as CSI300, lost 0.4 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent.
·      Several factories and plants might leave China amid rallying labor costs, exacerbated US-China trade tensions, and tight Covid-related controls, CNBC reported, citing multiple firms and analysts. However, the issue that prevails is that supply chain diversification is difficult to implement, CNBC reported, citing Nick Marro, global trade leader at The Economist Intelligence Unit.
·      Some Chinese buyers are contemplating the purchase of LNG cargoes from August onwards on the hopes that virus restrictions will ease thus raising demand for the fuel once again in the process, Bloomberg reported. Nevertheless, spot prices will still have to further drop before any deals are sealed. 
 
RIYADH: Outdoor advertising provider Arabian Contracting Services Co., known as Al Arabia, has more than doubled its profits during the first quarter.
Profits of the Riyadh-based firm, partly owned by media giant MBC group, soared to SR64.9 million ($17.3 million) in the first quarter from SR29.6 million during the same period last year, a bourse filing revealed.
Economic recovery, along with a continued digitization push in the Kingdom, led to a 93 percent increase in revenues year-on-year to SR287 million.
Al Arabia said that digital transformation led to an expansion in its client base in the current year to include new sectors, which in turn propelled solid first-quarter figures.
RIYADH: Saudi stocks ended the day higher on Wednesday as major companies released their earnings, causing investors to shrug off some concerns.
The Saudi main stock index,  TASI, gained 0.19 percent to close at 12,713, while the parallel market, Nomu, added 0.64 percent at 22,832.
Red Sea International Co. surged 10 percent to lead the gainers, while Al Hassan Ghazi Ibrahim Shaker Co. shed 9.91 to lead the fallers.
Anaam International Holding Group gained 9.97 percent, following its shareholders’ approval to raise its capital to SR315 million ($84 million).
Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co. grew 2.89 percent, after reporting a profit surge of 675 percent in the first quarter.
Saudi Aramco, the largest player on the Saudi oil market, closed Wednesday’s trading down 1.21 percent.
The Saudi Electricity Co. dropped 7.76 percent, after it reported a 10 percent decline in quarterly profit.
Methanol Chemicals Co. rose 3.44 percent, after it reported a 244 percent spike in profits in the first quarter.
In the financial sector, the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi, edged up 0.21 percent, and Alinma Bank edged down 0.41 percent.
Both pharma giants saw gains, as Nahdi Medical Co. added 3.04 percent and Aldawaa Medical Services Co. added 0.38 percent.
Brent crude settled at $113.96 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude traded at $115.14 a barrel, as of 3:22 p.m. Saudi time.

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