The global computing power of the bitcoin network has dropped sharply as the shutdown this week of Kazakhstan’s internet during a deadly uprising hit the country’s fast-growing cryptocurrency mining industry.
Kazakhstan became last year the world’s second-largest centre for bitcoin mining after the United States, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, after major hub China clamped down on crypto mining activity.
Russia sent paratroopers into Kazakhstan on Thursday to help put down the countrywide uprising after violence spread across the tightly controlled former Soviet state. Police said they had killed dozens of rioters in the main city Almaty, while state television said 13 members of the security forces had died.
The internet was on Wednesday shut down across the country in what monitoring site Netblocks called “a nation-scale internet blackout”.
The move would have likely prevented Kazakhstan-based miners from accessing the bitcoin network.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrenices are created or “mined” by high-powered computers, usually at data centres in different parts of the world, which compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles in a highly energy-intensive process.
In August last year, the most recent data available, Kazakhstan accounted for 18% of the global “hashrate” – crypto lingo for the amount of computing power being used by computers hooked up to the bitcoin network.
In April, before China’s latest clampdown on bitcoin mining, the figure was just 8%.
The hashrate at major crypto mining pools – groups of miners in different locations that team up to produce bitcoin – including AntPool and F2Pool was on Thursday at 1215 GMT down around 14% from its level late on Tuesday, according to data from mining firm BTC.com. Neither pool immediately responded to a Reuters request for comment,
CRACKDOWN ON CRYPTO MINING
Yet a drop in hashrate isn’t necessarily supportive for the price of bitcoin.
Bitcoin fell below $43,000 on Thursday, testing multi-month lows after investor appetite for riskier assets fell as the U.S. Federal Reserve leant toward more aggressive policy action.
The more miners on the network, the greater the amount of computer power is needed to mine new bitcoin. The hashrate falls if miners drop off the network, in theory making it easier for the remaining miners to produce new coin.
Kazakhstan’s crypto mining farms are mostly powered by ageing coal plants which themselves – along with coal mines and whole towns built around them – are a headache for authorities as they seek to decarbonise the economy.
The Kazakh government said last year it planned to crack down first on unregistered “grey” miners who it estimates might be consuming twice as much power as the “white” or officially registered ones.
Its energy ministry said last year “grey” mining may be consuming up to 1.2 GWt of power, which together with “white” miners’ 600 MWt comes up to about 8% of Kazakhstan’s total generation capacity.
The country’s uprising began with protests in the west of the country against a New Year’s Day fuel price hike.
(Reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
Bitcoin investors dig in for long haul in ‘staggering’ shift
As bitcoin heads into 2022, a growing cohort of long-term investors is doubling down on its stashes of the cryptocurrency, hoping a December dip was merely a festive blip.
Some industry watchers point to the underlying stability of such long-term investments as potentially promising indicators for the capricious cryptocurrency.
Since last July, for example, the amount of bitcoin held in digital wallets with no outflows for more than five months has been steadily increasing, according to digital currency brokerage Genesis Trading.
In addition, the amount of the bitcoin held in “illiquid” wallets – which spend less than quarter of their inflows – is also rising, meaning fewer coin are being actively traded, it added, citing wallet data across several exchanges.
“The number of bitcoins that haven’t moved in over a year has been climbing since July,” said Noelle Acheson, head of market insights at Genesis Trading. “That’s pretty staggering.”
Many investors were nonetheless sent diving for cover in December when the world’s most popular cryptocurrency sunk almost 20%, roughly the same as the second-biggest coin ether, with risk appetite hit by inflation fears and a quicker pace of interest rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
While bitcoin and ether both posted gains last week – up 2.9% to $43,107 and up 6.3% to $3,350, respectively – they are still some way off their 2021 highs of $69,000 and $4,868
Many cryptocurrency experts caution that no one has been known to reliably predict bitcoin’s characteristically wild price swings. In 2017, for example, it went from about $1,000 to around $20,000. In early 2020, it sunk below $4,000 at one point before beginning a dizzying rise.
Yet advocates of bitcoin and other coins say the increasing acceptance of cryptocurrencies in mainstream financial and investing in recent years has shored up the sector.
Cryptocurrency research firm Delphi Digital said their research showed a similar shift towards bitcoin being held for longer period by investors, which it said “illustrates a transference from shorter-term ‘weak hands’ to long-term ‘strong hands’.”
Crypto data platform Coinglass’s bitcoin Fear & Greed index, has wavered between 10 and 29 since the start of the year, which could be an indicator of a possible market bottom and buying opportunities, according to Will Hamilton, head of trading & research at Trovio Capital Management.
“Previous market bottoms in July 2021 and March 2020 correlated with Fear and Greed scores of 19 and 10 respectively,” he added.
For the uninitiated, 0 indicates “extreme fear” and 100 is “extreme greed”
MUSK AND DOGE
There were, meanwhile, more headlines for cryptocurrencies last week.
Meme-based dogecoin stole the spotlight after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company would accept it as payment for select merchandise.
The tweet sent dogecoin up nearly 12%.
“If more people are looking to buy Tesla merchandise with dogecoin then there’s more demand,” Acheson said, adding that this move could improve fundamental factors for dogecoin.
Cryptocurrency Solana was another altcoin in focus, with Bank of America analysts saying the Solana blockchain could pull market share away from ethereum and “could become the Visa of the digital asset ecosystem”.
Elsewhere, bitcoin miners bounced back from mining crackdowns in China and the recent unrest in Kazakhstan, one of the world’s primary centres for bitcoin mining.
Bitcoin’s mean “hash rate” a measure of the power of the bitcoin computing network, touched an all time high of over 215 million terahashes per second on Thursday, according to blockchain data provider Glassnode.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Lisa Mattackal in Bengaluru; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Pravin Char) (more…)
The Daily — Canada's international transactions in securities, November 2021 – Statistique Canada
Foreign investors acquired $30.1 billion of Canadian securities in November, the largest investment since April 2020. At the same time, Canadian investors increased their holdings of foreign securities by $17.5 billion, led by purchases of US shares.
As a result, international transactions in securities generated a net inflow of funds of $12.6 billion in the Canadian economy in November.
The largest foreign investment in Canadian securities since April 2020
Foreign acquisitions of Canadian securities totalled $30.1 billion in November, the largest investment since April 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. In November, foreign investment targeted federal government debt securities, and to a lesser extent, private corporate debt securities. A foreign divestment in Canadian equities moderated the overall acquisition activity in the month.
Foreign investors added $31.4 billion of debt securities to their portfolios in November, up from a $20.4 billion investment in October. This activity mainly reflected purchases of federal government debt securities, both bonds ($8.6 billion) and money market instruments ($6.5 billion). In addition, investors added $9.8 billion of private corporate debt securities to their holdings in November, a seventh consecutive monthly investment, for a total of $87.6 billion. In November, Canadian long-term interest rates rose to the highest level since February 2019. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar depreciated against the US dollar.
Non-resident investors reduced their overall exposure to the Canadian equity market by $1.3 billion in November, after three consecutive months of investment. The reduction reflected retirements of Canadian portfolio shares resulting from cross-border merger and acquisition activities. Foreign purchases of Canadian shares on the secondary market, led by shares of chartered banks, moderated the overall reduction in the month. Canadian share prices, as measured by the Standard and Poor’s/TSX composite index, were down by 1.8% in November after reaching a record-high level in October.
Canadian investment in foreign securities rebounds
Canadian acquisitions of foreign securities reached $17.5 billion in November, up from a $5.4 billion investment in October and similar to the average investment observed in August and September. The investment activity in November was led by acquisitions of US shares.
Canadian investors added $7.4 billion of US shares to their holdings in November, following an investment of $652 million in October. The activity in November focused on shares of large capitalization technology firms and investment fund shares tracking broad market indices. US stock prices, as measured by the Standard and Poor’s 500 composite index, were down by 0.8% in November. In addition, Canadian investors purchased $4.0 billion of non-US foreign shares, after a divestment of $2.5 billion in October. November’s investment mainly targeted British companies’ shares.
Meanwhile, Canadian investors added $6.1 billion of foreign debt securities to their portfolios, mainly in US dollar-denominated instruments. This activity represented the 10th straight month of investment in foreign debt securities for a total of $47.4 billion. Investment in November mainly focused on US corporate bonds ($2.8 billion) and US government bonds ($1.6 billion). In November, Canadian long-term interest rates exceeded their US counterpart with the largest value increase since August 2011.
Note to readers
The data series on international transactions in securities covers portfolio transactions in equity and investment fund shares, bonds and money market instruments for both Canadian and foreign issues. This activity excludes transactions in equity and debt instruments between affiliated enterprises, which are classified as foreign direct investment in international accounts.
Equity and investment fund shares include common and preferred equities, as well as units or shares of investment funds. For the sake of brevity, the terms “shares” and “equity and investment fund shares” have the same meaning.
Debt securities include bonds and money market instruments.
Bonds have an original term to maturity of more than one year.
Money market instruments have an original term to maturity of one year or less.
Government of Canada paper includes Treasury bills and US-dollar Canada bills.
All values in this release are net transactions unless otherwise stated.
Data on Canada’s international transactions in securities for December 2021 will be released on February 17, 2022.
The data visualization product “Securities statistics,” part of the series Statistics Canada – Data Visualization Products (), is available online. 71-607-X
The Canada and the World Statistics Hub () is available online. This product illustrates the nature and extent of Canada’s economic and financial relationship with the world using interactive graphs and tables. This product provides easy access to information on trade, investment, employment and travel between Canada and a number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China and Japan. 13-609-X
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; email@example.com) or Media Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Singapore REITs Double Their Overseas Investment to $12 Billion – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s property managers are accelerating their push abroad as a slow reopening and diminishing returns at home force them to look for growth opportunities elsewhere.
Foreign acquisitions by real estate investment trusts in the city-state jumped to an all-time high of 61 last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The total value of such deals also more than doubled from 2020 to $12.3 billion.
Property managers in Singapore — which boasts the most REITs in Asia outside of Japan — have long shown global ambitions, with overseas investments picking up during the pandemic. But a limited reopening coupled with the anticipated omicron surge is adding impetus to this drive, even as investor concerns over a slowing recovery grow.
“Singapore’s commercial REITs may continue to rely on overseas M&A to achieve income growth in 2022, especially if omicron brings more uncertainty on further easing of social and traveling curbs to boost retail and office leasing demand in the country,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Patrick Wong.
A $3.1 billion merger of Mapletree Commercial Trust with Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust proposed last month is the latest in a series of moves that have seen managers long comfortable with a domestic presence favor a more global footprint. Also in December, another REIT targeting retail outlets in the city-state, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust, made a foray into its second overseas market with office acquisitions in Australia.
Investors like the stability a local focus can offer, Sharon Lim, the chief executive officer of the manager of Mapletree Commercial to told reporters last month, but her trust needs to be better placed to take on new opportunities overseas and achieve “meaningful long-term expansion.” Lim’s REIT, which she described as the “last of the Mohicans” with only Singapore-centric assets will see its domestic holdings shrink to 51% within the new merged entity.
Overseas diversification may alienate some investors, however, with Mapletree Commercial’s shares having declined more than 8% since the merger was announced. “Investors whose mandate demands only Singapore exposure may look at other counters,” said Krishna Guha, a senior analyst at Jefferies Financial Group Inc, adding that execution and foreign exchange risks may rise.
Still, while the CEO of Singapore’s tourism board Keith Tan has warned that a full recovery in visitor numbers is unlikely until 2025, a reopening dividend might yet emerge. Officials in the financial center have affirmed their determination to live with the virus and keep its borders open, while easing some restrictions, including allowing some workers back into offices.
Singapore’s latest property investment manager Capitaland Investment Ltd. — a spinoff of one of the country’s largest developers — said it will remain committed to local investments despite a growing foreign portfolio.
Singapore will continue to be a “core market” and is attracting strong interest from wealthy individuals, including a growing number of family offices, said CEO Lee Chee Koon in an emailed response to questions about its plans. “But given the physical growth constraints, the relative size of our Singapore business within our portfolio will become smaller over time, as we expand and deepen our interests in overseas markets.”
Investors have validated this strategy so far, with Capitaland Investment emerging as the second-best performer on the benchmark Straits Times Index since its trading debut in September last year, having advanced by over 21%.
The overseas growth fervor is unlikely to dim. A limited pool of good quality assets as well as increasing competition from global funds have also pushed yields lower, said Vijay Natarajan, a real estate analyst at RHB Research Institute. Capitaland’s Lee also expects stronger Asian-based competition to emerge over time.
Instead, deep liquidity pools in overseas markets like the U.K., U.S. and Australia, as well as more alluring freehold and longer lease terms will maintain the draw of markets abroad, said Natarajan. “We expect this trend of overseas acquisitions to continue.”
Footnotes to second chart:
- Chart displays % of foreign AUM of top eight REITs by market capitalization
- Excluded names are Capitaland Integrated Commercial Trust, created through a merger in 2020, while Mapletree Commercial Trust and Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust are pure geographical plays
- Mapletree REITs’ financial years end in March (E.g. For FY 2020: March 2021 rather than Dec. 2020)
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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