The odds are on for a March rate increase after Wednesday’s FOMC minutes, but stocks also fear geopolitical instability this week.
Bitcoin (BTC) dipped below $43,000 on Feb. 17 as another day on ranging compounded hopes for an incoming breakout.
Fed teases over rate hikes
The pair had returned to the top of its intraday range overnight on the back of Federal Reserve comments.
Expected to provide cues about potential interest rate hikes, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes from a meeting in late January ultimately provided few surprises. A hike could come in March, but no firm commitment was voiced over the process.
“The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run,” an accompanying statement read.
“In support of these goals, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. With inflation well above 2 percent and a strong labor market, the Committee expects it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate.”
The FOMC added that it was aiming to halt asset purchases altogether in March, in line with previous plans, with February’s purchases due to amount to at least $30 billion.
With little in the way of fresh news, crypto markets were thus uninspiring going into Thursday. Zooming out, however, optimism was still firmly present on the strength of the past two weeks’ BTC price action.
“My bias has changed a bit and now favor a squeeze towards 53k before mid March,” popular trader and analyst Pentoshi said as part of his latest Twitter update.
Others likewise noted the comparatively robust price performance this month compared to previous episodes in Bitcoin’s comedown from all-time highs last November.
By bouncing at near $33,000 in January, for example, a miner capitulation event — where miners are forced to sell or stop mining altogether due to the Bitcoin spot price being less than their cost of production — was successfully avoided.
Like I have said for the past week for #Bitcoin; no reason to panic until support failed, no reason to be too excited until resistance breaks
Just let it do its thing, take your emotions out of it: https://t.co/pBeQl17glc
— Matthew Hyland (@MatthewHyland_) February 16, 2022
As Cointelegraph reported, support levels were creeping up throughout recent days as buyers bet on a potential dip being less shallow than previously expected.
Russia tensions persist for stocks, crypto
Other macro signals on the day came in the form of fresh uncertainty over the Russia-Ukraine saga, with reports of hostilities emerging overnight.
Stock market futures were down at least 0.5% prior to the Wall Street open.
Possible news of mortars fired between Russia Ukraine.
Oil up, risk down / audjpy down.
If it’s real, will shock through all markets.
— Cantering Clark (@CanteringClark) February 17, 2022
Earlier, the U.S. government called claims that Russia was attempting to deescalate the situation on the Ukrainian border — something which would have conversely steaded nervous markets — “false.”
“Yesterday, the Russian government said it was withdrawing troops from the border of Ukraine… we now know it was false,” a senior official said on Wednesday quoted by the Financial Times.
Both Bitcoin and altcoins remain highly correlated to equities as 2022 progresses.