Bitcoin slipped back below US$23,000 on Thursday morning in Asia, tracking the fall in U.S. equity markets overnight amid comments from Federal Reserve officials that the fight to curb inflation is far from over. Ether fell along with most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies, with Polygon the only one on the list to move higher.
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Bitcoin fell 1.4% to US$22,945 in the 24 hours to 8 a.m. in Hong Kong, bringing its losses over the last seven days to 3.28%. Ether lost 2.3% to US$1,650, but is up 0.6% for the same week period, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
Polygon rose 2.8% to US$1.3, bringing its gains for the seven days to 9.2% on expansion of the token's network. The Polygon DeGens campaign launched on Tuesday and features decentralized finance (DeFi) dApps on the Polygon blockchain. Non-fungible token (NFT) service Premint added support for Polygon on Wednesday, and the network announced Tuesday there were 1.64 million active wallets using Web3 social apps.
Shiba Inu token slid 4.4% to US$0.000001375 to post the largest loss on CoinMarketCap's list, but the Dogecoin copycat token is still up 14.7% for the past week.
The crypto market capitalization fell 1.2% to US$1.07 trillion in the 24 hours, with total trading volume declining 3% to US$58.69 billion.
Henry Liu, chief executive of British Virgin Islands-based crypto exchange BTSE, said the broader crypto market is still in a recovery trend after the sharp price falls last year, pointing to the 30% plus gains in Bitcoin and Ether prices over the past month. "This trend could potentially continue into the near term, helping BTC surge past the all-important $25,000 psychological threshold. If this were to happen, a bull run may be in the offing," he said in an emailed statement to Forkast.
U.S. equities fell on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6%, the S&P 500 Index slipped 1.1% and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed off 1.7%.
Macroeconomic trends remain a focus for crypto and equity investors. Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said on Wednesday that interest rates may need to go higher to bring inflation under control in a speech at an agribusiness conference at Arkansas State University. He did not say by how much.
New York Fed President John Williams said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that interest rates may need to remain "restrictive" for a number of years to keep inflation to pre-pandemic levels, though he said he also agreed with the Fed's recent decision to raise rates by only 25 basis points in its January meeting last week.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell also said at the Economic Club of Washington this week that while the disinflationary process had begun in the U.S. economy, there was still much work to do to bring inflation to an acceptable level.
Analysts at the CME Group predict a more than 90% chance that the Fed will raise interest rates by a further 25 basis points at its next meeting in March. U.S. interest rates are currently at 4.5% to 4.75%, the highest in 15 years, and Fed officials have repeatedly indicated they could raise rates to as high as 5%.
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