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Ripple effect: Saudi's crypto experiment can save hundreds of millions, says Moody's

Saudi Arabia could save itself millions of dollars in foreign currency exchange fees if its pilot programme to use blockchain for cross-border payments is rolled out, according to credit ratings agency Moody's.

In a note published on Monday evening, Moody's said that an agreement last Wednesday between US-based financial technology (fintech) company Ripple and the Kingdom will support the use of the blockchain technology on which cryptocurrencies are based into the banks' cross-border payment infrastructure.

Tuesday 20 February 2018- ZAWYA
saudi arabia

Spending by non-Saudi households to see double digit decline

Non-Saudi households are expected to decrease their spending in the kingdom by 13.5 percent over the period 2017-2020, according to a new report published on Sunday.

Recent economic reforms in the kingdom, from value-added-tax (VAT) and dependent fees, to raising energy and utility prices, will push non-Saudi households to lower their spending from SAR 192 billion ($51.2 billion) in 2017 to SAR 166 billion in 2020, according to Al Rajhi Capital.

The majority of Saudi households, on the other hand, will be shielded from the impact of these reforms, the report adds. Saudi nationals will benefit from support from the Saudi Citizen Account program, which aims to offset the increase in the cost of living for low-to-middle income families.

Monday 19 February 2018- ZAWYA

Crude assumptions: Oil price likely to fall back on higher US production, say analysts

Oil prices are likely to be higher in 2018 than they were last year, but are likely to lose some of their recent momentum as shale producers in the US ramp up activity, according to two new reports from analysts at Gulf banks.

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) said in its note on Saturday said that after falling in six of the last eight sessions, the Brent crude price closed at $65.53 on Wednesday, meaning the year-to-date price moved into negative territory for the first time this year. This is 7 percent lower than the four-year high oil price of $70.50 on 24 January.

Sunday 18 February 2018- ZAWYA

In the Loop: Hyperloop TT to undertake Chicago-Cleveland route study in the US

One of the competing companies planning to deliver the superfast Hyperloop transportation system has announced that it has signed an agreement to conduct feasibility studies for a system that would link the cities of Chicago and Cleveland in the United States.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said that it has signed official agreements with the North Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and Illinois’ Department of Transportation (IDOT) to identify potential corridors of travel.

Thursday 15 February 2018- ZAWYA

Neighbourhood watch: Bahrain has tendered $4.1 billion of projects backed by GCC Development Fund

The total value of tendered projects in Bahrain, under the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC's) Development Fund, increased to $4.1 billion in 2017 compared to $3.9 billion in 2016, while the total value of commenced projects for the same period rose to $3.3 billion from $3 billion, Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) said in its latest quarterly report.

In its December 2017 quarterly report, EDB said the cumulative amount of money disbursed, under the GCC Fund, almost doubled to $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017 from $751 million in the corresponding period in 2016, and added that “a significantly larger increment is expected in 2018.”

Thursday 15 February 2018- ZAWYA

Relieved by robots: WTO head says 80% of jobs in advanced nations lost to tech

Eight out of ten workers losing their jobs in advanced economies are being replaced by technology, not immigrants or workers in other countries via trade deals, the head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) told the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday.

In a session titled ‘The Outlook for Global Trade in a Hyperconnected World’, the WTO's director-general, Roberto Azevêdo, said that jobs "are not lost to trade or to immigrants, they are lost to new technology”.

Wednesday 14 February 2018- ZAWYA

Crypto-rules: Central banks have limited power to influence traders on a blockchain system - experts

Regulators may be able to control the means by which cryptocurrencies are traded in individual markets, but they can have limited influence on the blockchain architecture on which they are all created, according to experts.

“We can’t regulate the technology,” Marco Santori, an expert in blockchain law and partner in the United States-based law firm Cooley LLP told Zawya at the World Government Summit on Monday.

Tuesday 13 February 2018- ZAWYA

'Virtual countries', uploading your mind to a computer and job losses - UAE minster on artificial intelligence

“74 percent of jobs are expected to disappear in the future due to artificial intelligence,” Mohammed Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said in a speech on Sunday at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

He added that everyone should be prepared for a future where technology “would penetrate minds and feelings” and create “virtual countries”.

“By 2045, we will be able to transfer and upload the contents of the human mind to a data centre. Governments must be prepared for these coming changes. The aim of this summit is to find answers and set priorities to meet these challenges and opportunities,” he added.

A report earlier this month by consultancy firm PwC estimated that artificial intelligence will contribute $320 billion to the Middle East economy by 2030 - the equivalent to 11% of GDP.

Monday 12 February 2018- ZAWYA

"Progress does not wait for anyone," India's Modi tells Dubai's World Government Summit

India missed out on the industrial revolution but new technological advances will help it catch up with developed nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday in a speech at this year’s World Government Summit in Dubai.

“Our dream of new India will be realised by innovating new technology by the youth. By 2022 we have set ourselves a goal of doubling farming income,” Modi told delegates.

“India has missed out on the industrial revolution, but now we are re-evolving through technology. Today, there are major challenges… poverty, unemployment, education and housing… we can beat them all through development and that is what my government is working on through technology."

Sunday 11 February 2018- ZAWYA

Life on Mars? UAE to fund space habitation ideas

The UAE announced it is to offer seed grants to support research into new ideas and technologies to support space settlement and habitation. The Space Settlement Challenge - a dedicated seed grant fund to support research projects into human space habitation - was announced on Saturday ahead of this week's World Government Summit. It will support projects in three key areas: space settlement, terraforming and space ecology and economics, business models and governance.

Space settlement involves developing plans for locations that could sustainably support at least 100 people, terraforming looks at creating livable, long-term environments while the third category is seeking business plans covering the best use of resources.

The UAE said it will provide a seed grant of up to 2 million UAE dirhams ($544,588) to fund new ideas or business models, regardless of their origins or background.

Sunday 11 February 2018- ZAWYA