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Bitcoin Has a Big Week Ahead. Traders See $8,500 as More Likely Than $34,000.

Bitcoin prices have plunged precipitously in 2022.

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Bitcoin
and other cryptocurrencies were little moved Monday ahead of what may be a big week. Crypto continues to languish in the wake of exchange FTX’s painful bankruptcy last month, with market participants increasingly bearish on the outlook.

The price of Bitcoin fell 1% over the past 24 hours to just shy of $17,000. The largest crypto continues to change hands at just one quarter of its November 2021 all-time high, battered amid a selloff this year that accelerated last month with the shocking collapse of FTX. The crypto exchange’s failure not only slammed token prices—Bitcoin shed 20% in days—but has also raised the prospect of tougher regulation and dampened institutional interest in the space.

“Bitcoin seems stuck around the $17,000 area and that could continue,” said Edward Moya, an analyst at broker Oanda. This “is the last trading week of the year that we will see full participation, so that could finally help Bitcoin have a more meaningful move,” he added, noting that Wednesday could usher in a major catalyst.

That catalyst is the Federal Reserve’s next decision on monetary policy, with the central bank widely expected to raise interest rates by 50 basis points, marking a slowdown from a spate of supersize 75 basis-points hikes. 

It’s news that will move the stock market and drag cryptos along, given the correlation between digital assets and equities that has strengthened amid 2022’s tough macro backdrop of high inflation and rising rates. Consumer-price index (CPI) inflation data due Tuesday add to the packed agenda of economic data and news in the days ahead that could see Bitcoin follow the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
and
S&P 500.

“If Wall Street is confident that the Fed will be done hiking after the February rate rise and nothing new breaks in crypto, you could see Bitcoin make a run for the $18,000 level,” said Moya. “If the Fed signals more work may need to be done and if legislation looks crippling for Bitcoin, sellers could quickly emerge and make a push to retest the November lows.”

More broadly, gloom continues to hang over crypto in the wake of FTX’s collapse. And signs that sentiment on Wall Street has soured on the once-hot crypto space flashed again Monday with the release of a survey from
Deutsche Bank
of 856 global financial markets participants.

Some 78% of respondents to the survey, run by strategist Jim Reid at the bank, said Bitcoin was more likely to halve next year than double, representing overwhelming bearishness from traditional finance. Based on current price levels, that means market participants see Bitcoin moving below $8,500 as more likely than a return to $34,000—a level last seen in May. It’s an increase in bears from last year, when 38% of respondents were confident Bitcoin would double from its price then of around $50,000.

The survey also captures what may be generally fading interest in the world of digital assets. Just 2% of respondents said turmoil in crypto assets was among the biggest risks in market stability in 2023, putting crypto behind 25 other factors including liquidity risks in private capital and attacks on energy infrastructure.

Beyond Bitcoin,
Ether
—the second-largest crypto—shed 1.5% to $1,250. Smaller cryptos or altcoins were slightly weaker, with both
Cardano
and
Polygon
down some 2%. Memecoins were far deeper in the red, as
Dogecoin
dropped 8% and
Shiba Inu
slipped 3.5%.

Write to Jack Denton at jack.denton@barrons.com

Credit: marketwatch.com

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