Depending on who you ask regarding the contents of its January minutes, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which is responsible for determining US central bank policy, is either primed for an easing of rates, or persistently hawkish.
Sure, inflation is still “unacceptably high”, and the jobs market is persistently strong, but GDP growth is apparently primed for a slowdown and “cumulative policy firming” (i.e. interest rate hikes) has softened demand in interest rate-sensitive sectors, particularly housing.
Fed members warned that a period of below-trend growth in real GDP would be needed to reduce inflation, though recent economic data “signalled a somewhat higher chance of continued subdued economic growth”.
What does this have to do with the price of bitcoin?
Well, a hands-off approach from the Fed, with the expectation of lower interest rates, would signal to investors that riskier assets are back in favour, since Treasury bonds and the greenback would inevitably start to look less appealing.
Bitcoin’s response to the FOMC minutes? A resounding ‘meh’, to be honest.
Judging by the four-hour chart, BTC/USDT did enjoy a post-FOMC bump following yesterday’s release of the minutes, though the session ultimately closed a percentage point lower at US$24,180.
This morning has seen yesterday’s losses erased, with BTC/USDT heading back above US$24,400.
A new range forming for bitcoin (BTC)? – Source: currency.com
There appears to be a consolidation range forming between US$23,500 and US$25,100, which is a step up from the previous range between 23k and 24k.
Bulls will have 25k in their sights, and going by the Binance order book, it’s a toss of the coin if they surpass it or not.
Even if they don’t, the fact that bitcoin is now over 50% higher year to date, when the S&P 500 is less than 5% higher, shouldn’t be ignored.
It certainly puts a dent in the whole idea of the bitcoin-equities correlation.
Ethereum (ETH) cut a similar post-FOMC path, having closed one percent lower yesterday and regaining its composure today.
The ETH/USDT pair is currently changing hands at US$1,670, and as seen in the Binance order book below, there is a foreboding sell wall pitched at US$1,700.
Depth charts, or orders books, are a good way to check where selling pressure on a trading pair is – Source: binance.com
In the altcoin space
Among the top risers today was Layer-1 blockchain Stacks (STX), which rallied 33% overnight to bring market capitalisation to a year-to-date high of US$1.17bn.
Stacks, which is designed to bring smart contract operability to the bitcoin ledger, is rallying after news that its 2.1 network upgrade is set to go live next month.
Other top risers include Ethereum scaling solution Optimism (OP), Enjin Coin (ENJ) and liquid staking protocol Lido DAO (LDO).
Global cryptocurrency market capitalisation added 2.5% to US$1.11tn in the past 24 hours, while total value locked across all decentralised finance (DeFi) protocols stayed steady at US$50.1bn.