Bitcoin and Ether rose on Wednesday afternoon in Asia, along with all other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Solana and Polygon were the biggest gainers, both rising above 5% in the last 24 hours. Asian equity markets strengthened on Wednesday, mirroring a relief rally in U.S. equities on Tuesday, as concerns of a crisis in the banking sector eased after February U.S. inflation data arrived in line with expectations. 

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Fast facts

  • Bitcoin gained 2.46% to US$24,981 in 24 hours to 4 p.m. in Hong Kong, according to CoinMarketCap data. The biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has gained 13.17% in the last seven days. Bitcoin rose above the US$26,000 mark at 9:15 p.m. in Hong Kong on Tuesday, for the first time in nine months, after the release of February U.S. inflation data.
  • Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, gained 2.13% to US$1,712, rising 9.99% on the week. 
  • Solana gained the most among top 10 non-stablecoin cryptos, rising 5.84% to US$21.32, and posted a weekly gain of 10.91%. Polygon’s Matic token was the second-biggest gainer, rising 5.53% to US$1.23 and increasing 9.92% on the week. 
  • BNB, the native token of world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, strengthened 2.54% to US$313.91, a 9.8% gain in the past seven days. Binance will stop sterling deposits and withdrawals for all customers by May, as Paysafe, its local partner for fiat on and off-ramps said it would stop sterling transfer services for U.K. users due to regulatory concerns.
  • The global crypto market capitalization rose 2.38% to US$1.1 trillion, while the total crypto market volume gained 10.43% to US$99.9 billion in the past 24 hours. 
  • Asian markets mostly strengthened on Wednesday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.52%, South Korea’s Kospi increased 1.31%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.03%. 
  • The Shanghai Composite inched up 0.55%, while the Shenzhen Component Index dropped 0.03%. China’s economic data on Wednesday showed early signs of recovery as consumer spending picked up in January and February as expected. 
  • The Forkast 500 NFT index rose 0.87% on the day to 4,109.45. Karafuru increased 8.91% as the day’s biggest gainer, followed by Sappy Seals that strengthened 5.49%. 
  • Investors remained cautious ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy meeting on Thursday. The market expects a 25 basis points rate hike, but a 50 basis points hike is also a possibility, despite this week’s banking turmoil.
  • European shares slipped on the day, with the STOXX 600 falling 0.59% and Germany’s DAX 40 declining 0.2%.
  • London’s benchmark FTSE 100 fell 0.65% below 7,600, as investors awaited Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s “Spring Budget” later Wednesday where he is expected to announce new pension and childcare reforms amid high costs of living in the U.K.
  • U.S. February inflation data released on Tuesday showed that inflation in the world’s largest economy slowed to 6% on the year and was in line with expectations. 
  • “However, against a backdrop of a robust labour market, we still expect the central bank will raise interest rates by a quarter-point at their next meeting on March 22,” said Nigel Green, chief executive of financial advisory firm deVere Group. 
  • “Should the Fed pause the rate hike agenda now, it puts them at risk of exposing themselves to inflation speeding up again. And then they would be forced to make larger hikes later, which would harm their objective and dent their credibility,” Green added.
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