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Lucid signs deal to open EV manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia, first outside US

Luxury electric vehicle maker Lucid Group Inc. signed a deal to open a manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia’s west coast, the company’s first site outside the US.

Lucid signed a $30 million lease agreement with Emaar Economic City for an industrial plot in King Abdullah Economic City outside Jeddah, according to a statement.

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The 25-year lease will allow Lucid “to construct and operate automotive manufacturing and assembly facility together with all ancillary services,” Emaar Economic said.

Chairman Andrew Liveris, who is also a board member at Saudi oil giant Aramco, told Bloomberg TV in January that Lucid would build an electric vehicle factory in Saudi Arabia by 2026.

The company, which makes the $169,000 Air sedan, counts the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund as one of its largest investors with a stake of about 62 percent.

Lucid and the Public Investment Fund, as the Saudi wealth fund is known, were in talks about building an autos plant at the King Abdullah Economic City, people familiar told Bloomberg last year.

The plans are part of a government project to turn the site on the west coast into a hub for car-makers, as it looks to develop non-oil industries and diversify its economy.

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Egypt to raise food subsidies spending by 20 percent in FY 2023/24 draft budget

Egypt expects to raise its allocation for food subsidies by 20 percent and for petroleum products by 24 percent in the 2023-24 fiscal year, according to a draft budget approved by the cabinet on Wednesday.

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The budget forecasts GDP growth at 4.1 percent and inflation at an average rate of 16 percent during the next fiscal year, which starts in July, according to a cabinet statement.

Egypt has been struggling to contain economic pressures exposed by the consequences of the war in Ukraine, which include rising costs to grain and fuel imports.

Its currency has come under renewed pressure this month despite three sharp devaluations since last March that have seen the Egyptian pound lose nearly half its value against the dollar. Headline inflation has accelerated to five-and-a-half year highs of 31.9 percent.

Despite the challenges, the government is projecting a primary surplus of 2.5 percent, a 38.4 percent rise in overall revenues and a 28 percent rise in tax revenues, the cabinet statement said.

The budget still needs approval by Egypt’s parliament.

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Kazakhstan seeks $5.1 bln fine from Kashagan oil field: Report

Kazakhstan has filed a claim against the Kashagan oil venture for about 2.3 trillion tenge ($5.14 billion) in environmental protection fines, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing the country’s Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry.

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The ministry has accused the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) which runs Kashagan, of keeping more than double the amount of sulfur permitted on the site, the report said.

The NCOC did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ emailed request for comment.

Kashagan, which is one of Kazakhstan’s biggest oilfields, halved its output last year for about two months due to a gas leak. The field has now fully restored production.

Some of the Central Asian nation’s biggest oilfields stopped for planned maintenance last year.

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Bitcoin climbing toward $30,000 again following Binance’s legal woes

Bitcoin renewed its climb toward $30,000 with risk appetite rising across global markets and concern about the fallout from Binance’s legal woes waning.
The largest cryptocurrency by market value rose for a second day, gaining as much as 4.9 percent to $28,638 on Wednesday. It had climbed to just below $29,000 on March 22, the highest since June. Other tokens also rallied, with XRP jumping about 9 percent, Cardano increasing 7 percent and Polygon rising 4 percent. Ether was up less than 2 percent.

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Bitcoin touched a 10-day low on Monday after Binance Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest crypto exchange, was sued by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission for allegedly breaking trading and derivatives rules. Binance said it didn’t agree with the characterization of many of the issues alleged in the complaint.

One measure technical analysts use suggests that the price gains may continue. The Relative Strength Index or RSI for Bitcoin crossed a crucial threshold on Wednesday, signaling the potential for more upward momentum to the cryptocurrency’s 66 percent price rally in 2023.

Bitcoin’s monthly RSI crossed above 50, a level it had dropped below in May last year following the collapse of Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin project. A move above 50 indicates that price momentum has transitioned to a bullish regime and a move below, the opposite. Since the major low recorded in January 2015, there have only been three other instances when this happened — October 2015, April 2019 and April 2020. The average returns three and 12 months after were 26 percent and 182 percent.

Although the monthly RSI has crossed above 50, the signal will be cemented only if the level is maintained on the last trading day of the month.

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