Posted on

Bitcoin falls to lowest level in over a year

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg): Bitcoin, world’s largest cryptocurrency, tumbled as much as 11%, with most of the loss coming within a half hour window. Photo: Bloomberg

Portland: Bitcoin tumbled below $6,000 for the first time since August and reached the lowest level in over a year, breaking the recent stretch of tranquility exhibited by the notoriously volatile digital alternative to cash.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency tumbled as much as 11%, with most of the loss coming within a half hour window. Other digital coins slumped, with smaller rivals Ether, Litecoin and XRP dropping more than 17%. Bitcoin Cash tumbled as much as 21% as the Bitcoin offshoot faces its own split.

“The market is trying to find the bottom,” said Michael Terpin, a San Juan, Puerto Rico-based partner at Alphabit Fund. “People who are chartists look at historical patterns, and they note there’s one last final capitulation drop to get the last people fleeing out of the market.”

Some traders speculated that investors may be leaving Bitcoin to raise funds to buy Bitcoin Cash after it splits in anticipation that each of the new coins will appreciate.

Bitcoin dropped as low as $5,549, the least since October 2017, or just before the surge in demand that pushed its price to almost $20,000 in December. It’s down about 70% from that record high in the 10-year-old token.

When it split off a year ago, Bitcoin Cash jump-started the forking craze in which dozens of software-development teams sought to create money out of thin air by tweaking the original computer code and releasing coins with “Bitcoin” in their names.

A group headed by Craig Wright is expected to take control tomorrow of the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency following a software upgrade. A rival faction that disagrees on how to best expand has been trying to persuade the community of computer operators running the network to adopt their version. About 70% of the so-called miners that process the transactions that keep the network afloat are signaling they support the version backed by Wright’s allies, according to crypto data tracker Coin Dance.

Posted on

Emirates Airline half-year profit plunges 86% due to hike oil prices

DUBAI (AFP): Emirates Airline on Thursday posted an 86 percent drop in half-year profits as the Middle East’s leading carrier was hit by a hike in oil prices and currency devaluations.

The Dubai-based airline in a statement its net profit in the six months to September 30 was also impacted by other challenges and expected tough months ahead.

Emirates said it recorded a profit of just $62 million in the first half of the 2018-2019 fiscal year compared with $452 million in the same period last year.

“The high fuel cost as well as currency devaluations in markets like India, Brazil, Angola and Iran, wiped approximately 4.6 billion dirhams ($1.25 billion) from our profits,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group.

Emirates, one of the world’s biggest airlines, said fuel costs rose by 42 percent compared with the same period last year.

The company, which flies to more than 150 destinations, said the cost of fuel amounted to a third of its expenses.

Emirates is the world’s largest operator of Airbus A380s with more than 100 of the superjumbos in its fleet.

“The next six months will be tough, but the Emirates Group’s foundations remain strong,” Sheikh Ahmed said in a statement.

In the six months to September 30, the airline carried 30.1 million passengers, a rise of three percent on the last fiscal year, the company said.

Emirates’ revenues were 10 percent higher than the previous year at $13.3 billion.

“We are proactively managing the myriad challenges faced by the airline and travel industry, including the relentless downward pressure on yields and uncertain economic and political realities in our region and in other parts of the world,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

Profit for the Emirates Group, which also includes Dnata, a leading air services provider, was also down by 53 percent to $296 million.



Posted on

Aldar Properties’ profits fall 30% in Q3

DUBAI (Arabian Business): Aldar Properties CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi said that government initiatives such as the AED 50 billion Ghadan 21 programme, changes to residency visa regulations and Adnoc’s AED 484 billion capital investment plans “will accelerate national development and support sustainable long-term growth.”

Aldar Properties net profits dropped 30 percent to AED 420 million ($ 114.35 million) in the third quarter of 2018, which the company attributes to higher costs and a number of one-off items, Aldar announced on Thursday.

In a statement, Aldar noted that revenues rose 8 percent to AED 1.5 billion ($408.39 million) over the quarter, while gross profits were steady at AED 581 million ($158.18 million). Profits in Q3 2017 were AED 601 million ($163.63 million).

“Our business is structured to deliver long-term growth,” said Aldar Properties CEO Talal Al Dhiyebi. “Today, more than two thirds of our gross profit comes from the stable, mature assets held in Aldar Investments delivering consistent returns throughout the cycle.”

The financial results said the decline in profit was attributed to increase interest costs because of the reduction of cash deposits and an increase in debt used for the acquisition of Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) assets.

Al Dhiyebi added that the results are “complemented by a development business that is expected to deliver over 7,000 units between 2018 and 2021, providing a steady pipeline of contracted cash flows that will start contributing to Aldar’s 2018 dividend, in line with our stated dividend policy”.

Looking to the future, Al Dhiyebi said that government initiatives such as the AED 50 billion Ghadan 21 programme, changes to residency visa regulations and Adnoc’s AED 484 billion capital investment plans “will accelerate national development and support sustainable long-term growth.”



Posted on

Ford CEO open to investors in autonomous vehicles but cautious on VW

MIAMI (Reuters): Ford Motor Co (F.N) Chief Executive Jim Hackett told Reuters the automaker is open to investment by automakers and others in its autonomous vehicle business, but cautioned that expanding partnerships with German automaker Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) (VOWG.DE) is a “delicate dance.”

Volkswagen’s supervisory board is scheduled to meet on Thursday to review a 10-year strategic plan assembled by Chief Executive Herbert Diess that is expected to propose using alliances with rivals to cut development costs for electric and autonomous vehicles and potentially other types of vehicles.

Ford and VW have acknowledged they are in discussions. Hackett said a previously announced partnership to share development of future light commercial vehicles is “going better than we thought it would.”

“Herbert and I had a great discussion,” about the commercial vehicle business, Hackett said. However, Hackett said expanding collaboration to other areas, such as electric vehicles or consolidation in Latin America, would have to be done carefully, and no broader deal has been agreed.

“We compete in a bunch of areas as well,” he said.

Ford’s share price has sunk 22 percent this year, reflecting investor frustration with the company’s pace of rolling out plans for restructuring money-losing operations in Europe, Latin America and China, and a strategy for funding investments in autonomous and electrified vehicles.

Ford earlier this year created a separate unit for its autonomous vehicle operations, which includes Ford’s majority stake in self-driving car software company Argo AI. Potential investors could put money into either Ford’s autonomous vehicle unit, or Argo, Ford executives said.

Ford and Argo are currently testing vehicles in four cities — Miami, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Washington, D.C. Argo Chief Executive Bryan Salesky said the companies plan to expand the number of test cities in 2019. Ford has said it expects to launch self-driving vehicles for sale by 2021, when a new vehicle architecture designed specifically for autonomous systems is expected to be ready.

In the meantime, Ford is testing different ways in which self-driving vehicles can be used to carry people and goods. In Miami, for example, the company is collaborating with local businesses to test designs for vehicles that can deliver food, laundry or flowers. On Wednesday, Ford said it will work with Walmart Inc (WMT.N) to design automated delivery services.

Signs that the US auto market is heading for a cyclical downturn, coupled with steel cost increases driven by US tariffs, have ratcheted up pressure on all three Detroit automakers.

General Motors Co (GM.N) Chief Executive Mary Barra last month turned up pressure by launching a sweeping cost-cutting program, including offering buyouts to 18,000 North American salaried staff, and warning of outright layoffs if not enough employees leave.

Since May, GM and its Cruise self-driving car unit have landed $5 billion in investment commitments from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) to develop a robot taxi service.

Hackett acknowledged investor concerns, but said he wants to be sure that Ford has worked out how to redesign its business before cutting anything.

“Hacking off limbs of the organization gets you nowhere,” he said.



Posted on

Uber posts $1b loss in quarter as growth in bookings slows

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters): Uber Technologies Inc said that growth in bookings for its ride-hailing and delivery services rose 6 percent in the latest quarter, the third quarter in a row that growth has remained in the single digits after double-digit growth for all of last year.

The San Francisco-based firm lost $1.07 billion for the three months ending Sept. 30, a 20 percent increase from the previous quarter but down 27 percent from a year ago, when the company posted its biggest publicly reported quarterly loss on the heels of the departure of Uber co-founder and former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick.

Uber is seeking to expand in freight hauling, food delivery and electric bikes and scooters as growth in its now decade-old ride-hailing business dwindles. The company, valued at $76 billion, faces pressure to show it can still grow enough to become profitable and satisfy investors in an initial public offering planned for some time next year.

Its adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $592 million, down from $614 million last quarter and $1.02 billion a year ago.

“We had another strong quarter for a business of our size and global scope,” said Nelson Chai, Uber’s chief financial officer, who joined in September after the job had been vacant for three years. He emphasized the “high-potential markets in India and the Middle East where we continue to solidify our leadership position.”

But broader economic conditions and sustained losses could push Uber to merge with rivals in India and the Middle East, particularly as Uber and India-based Ola share an investor in SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T).

Uber’s gross bookings were $12.7 billion, up 6 percent from the previous quarter and up 41 percent from a year ago. In late 2016, Uber’s quarterly bookings growth approached 30 percent, and in early 2017 it still sustained double-digit growth quarter-over-quarter. At the start of this year, however, bookings growth slid into the single digits.

Revenue for the quarter was $2.95 billion, a 5 percent boost from the previous quarter and up 38 percent from a year ago. That trailed the second-quarter year-over-year revenue increase of 63 percent. As a private company, Uber is not required to publicly disclose financials, but last year started releasing selected figures.

Since CEO Dara Khosrowshahi took the helm more than a year ago, Uber has retreated from foreign markets where it had suffered heavy losses and shuttered certain pricey ventures including self-driving trucks. But Khosrowshahi has plowed the savings back into its freight-hauling, food-delivery, and electric scooter and bikes businesses.

An investment by SoftBank that closed in January, which gave the Japanese investor a 15 percent stake in Uber, included a provision that requires Uber to file for an IPO by Sept. 30 of next year, or the company risks allowing restrictions on shareholder stock transfers to expire. That could create a mess for Uber’s ownership structure and equity value, and pose regulatory problems.

Uber is considering moving its public debut up from the second half of 2019 to the first half, given concerns about a market downturn and an expected IPO from its chief US rival, Lyft Inc, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Khosrowshahi has focused on growing Uber Eats, which took in $2.1 billion in booking revenue, marking a 150 percent jump over last year and about 17 percent of total bookings.

Uber has also pledged to double its investment over the next year in Freight, a brokerage service set up in May 2017 for truck drivers and fleet managers looking for cargo to haul. The business is doubling the number of loads it connects with truckers every quarter, Uber said.

But it is not yet clear whether either business can sustain a profit. It is also unclear how Uber will fare in a shakeout of the crowded global food-delivery industry, and whether its freight business will be widely adopted by fleet managers.

Posted on

EU: Passenger car demand grows 1.6% in Jan-Oct

Monitoring Desk

ISTANBUL: The European Union passenger vehicles demand in January-October grew by 1.6 percent year-on-year, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) announced on Thursday.

The ACEA said new passenger car registrations totalled more than 13 million during the first 10 months of 2018. “Looking at the five biggest car markets, Spain (10.0 percent) saw the highest growth rates, followed by France (5.7 percent) and Germany (1.4 percent). By contrast, registrations declined in Italy (3.2 percent) and the United Kingdom (7.2 percent),” the association said.

During the 10-month period, the biggest share — with 23.9 percent in passenger car sales in the 28-member EU bloc — was held by the VW Group, of which major brands are Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche.

Sales of the VW Group saw an annual hike of 2.9 percent, reaching around 3.1 million units in first 10 months of the year.

The PSA Group — which owns the Peugeot, Citroen, and Opel brands — and the Renault Group — which owns the Renault, Dacia, Lada and Alpine brands — followed with 16.2 percent and 10.3 percent of car sales, respectively.

In 2017, over 15 million new passenger cars were sold in the EU, up 3.4 percent from the previous year.

The EU is the main automotive export market for Turkey, where the world’s prominent automotive manufacturers including Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Renault and Toyota have operations.

Last year, nearly 80 percent of Turkey’s total automotive exports were made to EU countries amounting to $22 billion, marking a 17 percent rise, year-on-year.

The ACEA will release its next report on the passenger car registrations on Dec. 14. (AA)



Posted on

Turkey’s ranking improves in World Energy Trilemma 2018

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA (AA): Turkey climbed six places to rank 44 in the World Energy Trilemma Index 2018, which the World Energy Council (WEC) administrated, WEC Turkish National Committee announced Wednesday.

The index ranked 125 countries’ energy performance based on global and national data on three factors – Energy Security, Energy Equity, and Environmental Sustainability.

According to the overall ranking and balance score, Turkey’s score increased to BBB in 2018, compared to CBB in 2017.

The ranking measures overall performance in achieving a sustainable mix of policies and the balance score highlights how well a country manages the trade-offs of the Trilemma with “A” being the best.

In line with the WEC’s index, “Turkey’s energy security score has improved relative to other countries and as part of the measure of supply diversity,” the WEC said.

The country’s rating rose 15 places to rank 67 in 2018, compared to 82 in 2017 in energy security scores and improved its balance score from C to B.

In environment sustainability, Turkey’s position moved up to 49 in 2018, from 55 in 2017. In energy equity, however, the country’s score dropped two points from 52 in 2017 to 54 in 2018.

From the index results, the WEC advised that Turkey needs to have enormous investment volumes to accommodate a fast-growing demand for energy and meet the country’s continuing growth.

Record high in domestic resources

The WEC index indicated that Turkey’s domestic resources are meeting a record high level in primary energy consumption at 27 percent and energy consumption at 50 percent of power generation. Moreover, 33 percent of overall power generated in Turkey is from renewable resources, according to the index.

The Council has also evaluated energy security risk in the country, taking into account the precautions taken and investments made.

“Numerous initiatives are underway to improve energy security in the country. Two competitive tenders of 1,000 megawatts each for solar and onshore wind was completed in 2017. Turkey has announced a first of its kind tender to be held in 2018 for offshore wind, targeting 1,200 megawatt of installed capacity. An additional 8,222 megawatts of capacity was added in 2017, almost 70 percent of which is from renewable resources, mainly solar and wind,” the Council said.

Turkey ranks second in additional geothermal installed capacity

An estimated 300 megawatts of new geothermal power capacity came online in 2017, putting Turkey in second place on the list in terms of net additional installed capacity in 2017, the index showed.

Moreover, Turkey also has firm plans to add nuclear power to its energy mix. A construction license for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu in Mersin was granted by the regulator and is scheduled to become operational by 2023. A new agency has been established in Turkey to regulate its nuclear energy sector, the WEC said.

The WEC index also considered international natural gas pipeline projects in Turkey.

“The most important of the Southern Gas Corridor – the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) has become operational in June 2018. Export to Europe is expected in 2020 once the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is completed.

The TurkStream Natural Gas Pipeline is expected to become operational by the end of 2019, the WEC said.


Posted on

BMP nominates Alauddin as FPCCI presidential candidate

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The Businessmen Panel (BMP) for FPCCI on Thursday nominated former Caretaker Chief Minister Balochistan Alauddin Marri as Presidential Candidate for the upcoming polls of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) which will be held on December 28th at Karachi.

This announcement was made by Chairman BMP, Mian Anjum Nisar at a large gathering of the business community in a local hotel and said FPCCI elections is on way and this year we have nominated a strong candidature for the top slot for Federation so that grievances of the Balochistan business community may be well taken care after winning the elections.

He said it is unfortunate today, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry has regrettably distanced itself from its national duty of projecting Pakistan’s potential at international trade, investment, and economic events. “All over the world the responsibility of economic diplomacy and development has largely been shifted from governments to private sector institutions,”

The apex trade bodies used promote economic diplomacy and it has become a global trend to utilise the strength and capacity of such private sector representative bodies for economic and political diplomacy. “Consequently, Pakistan through FPCCI has failed to raise its voice and advocate its economic policies at the international platforms, he added.

He believed in Naya Pakistan, FPCCI should learn from its counterpart organisation FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) has played a significant role in the success of Indian foreign policy as well as used its vital role in Indian Planning Commission.

However the ruling group of the apex trade body did a serious blunders and they put aside the responsibilities of the apex trade body but protect their own interests and always highlight the slogan of “sab accha ha” infront of the government which was a joke and every year they made false commitments infront of the business community only to win the elections and nothing else.

BMP Presidential Candidate Alauddin Marri said iam obliged that the confidence and trust which the leadership reposed on me, i ensure after winning the FPCCI elections my doors are open for all EC and GB members of the FPCCI as well as for all trade bodies. You will see the Naya FPCCI from January onwards. As i have an experience to work with the government and know the problems of our industry. He said our economy is in bad shape and we have to work with the government side by side to put our economy on track.

He assured to visit all chambers and put his agenda infront of them so that we may re-flourish the sanctity of the FPCCI which was badly down in the last four years. I know it’s a challenging task but with your support i will restructure the Federation on professional lines which is need for the country.

Senior Vice Chairman Mian Zahid Hussain said now business community of the country knew the reality of the UBG that what they shown in 2014 and what they are today. Business community is depressed of the lack lustre polices of the UBG. Their agenda is only to established their own writ on the whelm of the affairs of the FPCCI. They are least interested why our business community was feeling isolated, because their vision is just to act the B team of any sitting government and nothing else.

Chairman BMG of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce, Siraj Qasim Teli also said its time that we should come out from this fake leadership of the FPCCI, and run this body in a transparent way. My group fully supported Businessmen Panel in the coming elections of the FPCCI. BMP officials Zakria Usman, Sheikh Aslam, Ahmad Jawad, Shahzeb Akram, Khurram Sayed, Naveed Jan Baloch, Senator Ghulam Ali, Riaz Khattak, Ghulam Farooq, Saqib Fayyaz Magoon, Sultan Chawla and others also participated.



Posted on

Success of Olivia Intense and Brand activity in Dolman Mall Clifton

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Olivia Cosmetics is Pakistan’s frontline cosmetics company and ruling the hearts and minds of public since past 35 years. Every product of Olivia, whether it is for face or hair, has received overwhelming response from public. The response received by Olivia Intense Premium Hair Color is a clear proof in this regard.

To celebrate the relaunching of Olivia Intense Hair Color and get even closer to its customer, Olivia held an excellent activity. This activity by Olivia Intense was arranged in Dolman Clifton Mall, during November 9, 2018 to November 11, 2018. In the activity, Intense Hair product of Olivia was available on stall along with different games and lucky draw prizes; chances of on the spot hair coloring and make over were also provided. On this occasion women got free gift hampers and prizes in hourly lucky draws. Free beauty tips were also provided to women.

Most special among this activity was meeting of internationally famous celebrity Sanam Saeed with women and media; Sanam Saeed is also Brand Ambassador of Olivia Intense, and shared her experience and product attributes with women.

On this occasion Mr. Amir Maskatia, CEO of Olivia Cosmetics said, “I am happy to see the brilliant response we have received here. This is our launching activity regarding Olivia Intense Premium Hair Color. Women have participated in large number, which has encouraged us and given us hope that our product will succeed In-Sha-Allah. We wish that during launch of Olivia Intense Premium Hair Color our product is used by people at least once; this will be liked by them In-Sha-Allah”. He further said that good trendy fashion shades found in imported products are very expensive and that in the time of high inflation Olivia has introduced this product so that our women can purchase good product in reasonable price.

On this occasion Brand Manager Olivia, Ms. Saeeda Khan, said Olivia Intense Premium Hair Color, whose 15 shades have been introduced, is 100% Halal product. “Here we are providing free facilities to women” referring to the activity and added, “They are also provided make over and gifts.

On this occasion internationally famous celebrity Sanam Saeed shared her views about the TV commercial of Olivia Intense. She said that with this commercial image of Olivia has enhanced. She added “This ad has been shot in Turkey. Shooting of this commercial with Farooq Mannan was an interesting experience.” Ayesha Omer and Annie Jaffery have also worked with her in this commercial. She termed working with Olivia team a memorable experience.

Talking about Olivia Intense; Sanam Saeed said it has 15 shades out of which she used one. It not only provides shine to hair its conditioner provides best result by preserving the color.

This activity by Olivia Intense continued till late night in Dolman Clifton Mall, in which participation by women was overwhelming.

On this occasion; team members of the advertising agency — The Brand Partnership — were also present. Speaking on this occasion, Business Director of The Brand Partnership, Mr. Rehan Alvi, thanked Olivia on behalf of Mr. Numan Nabi Ahmed, CEO Brand Partnership. He said taking image of Olivia a step further was a challenge for us; in this regard Creative Head Jamal Hussain along with Director Farooq Mannan executed the strategy brilliantly and the TV commercial of international standard is in front of everyone.


Posted on

UK inflation remains steady in October

LONDON (BBC): The price of milk has fallen, as has that of other dairy items

The UK inflation rate remained steady at 2.4% in October, confounding analyst expectations of a rise to 2.5%.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) figure included falls in food and clothing costs, but rising utility bills and petrol prices, said the ONS.

The inflation figure comes a day after data showed that wages were rising by 3.2% – the fastest pace in nearly a decade.

Core inflation also held steady at 1.9% in October.

That figure strips out the out the effects of energy, food, alcohol and tobacco prices.

Has inflation peaked?

Inflation hit a five-year high of 3.1% in November 2017, as the inflationary effect of sterling’s decline after the June 2016 Brexit vote hit its peak.

However, it is still above the Bank of England’s 2% target.

The ONS’s head of inflation, Michael Hardie, said: “Prices paid by consumers continued to rise at a steady rate, with falls in food and clothing offset by rising utility bills and petrol, as crude [oil] prices continued to rise.”

The Bank of England expects inflation will drift lower, but expects to have to raise interest rates in coming years to keep inflation at or near its target figure.

How were different retail sectors affected?

Food prices cooled off. The cost of oils and fats dropped by 6.3% compared with the previous month, while milk, cheese and eggs prices were down 1.4%.

Overall food and non-alcoholic drink prices dropped by 0.2% in October. Clothing and footwear also dipped by 0.5%.

But gas and electricity prices both jumped by 2%, while liquid fuels soared by 7.2%.

How have manufacturers fared?

Looking at the latest date, for manufacturers, the cost of raw materials was 10% higher than in October 2017.

And manufacturers increased the prices they charged by 3.3% year-on-year compared with 3.1% the previous month.

Earnings and inflation

How have house prices been affected?

The ONS said house prices in September rose by an annual 3.5% against 3.1% in August.

But prices in London fell for a third month running, down by 0.3%.

What does this mean for interest rates?

There may not have been a change in the inflation rate, but there has been a change in expectations regarding when interest rates are likely to rise. In the City, the betting now is that the next upward move by the Bank of England is more likely than not to come as early as next May.

That would take the official rate to the giddy heights of 1%.

But is by no means obvious that rates will have to rise soon to tame inflation. If you strip out volatile items like food and fuel, so-called “core inflation” remains subdued at 1.9%.

Even though wages are rising more strongly, there’s little sign that prices are rising to compensate for those higher costs – rather, competition is holding prices down. Then again, the Bank of England has made no secret of its desire to “normalise” rates, so the markets may be right.

Is there a Brexit factor?

According to Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown: “Brexit is still the elephant in the room when it comes to the future path of inflation, and consequently of monetary policy.

“That’s because the pound now waxes and wanes with the Brexit negotiations, and that has a big impact on how much UK consumers pay for imported goods.