Bitcoin rose on Friday morning in Asia to trade above US$26,500. Ether also moved higher to over US$1,600. All other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies gained with Tron network’s TRX token leading the winners with a 24-hour rise of over 3%. The rise in crypto prices coincided with an announcement from Deutsche Bank that said the largest German lender would provide crypto custody services. U.S. stock futures edged up after Wall Street closed higher on Wednesday following strong economic data from the U.S.

Bitcoin, Ether gain; Deutsche Bank news pumps optimism into crypto markets

Bitcoin rose 1.49% in the last 24 hours to US$26,610.48 as of 07:30 a.m. in Hong Kong and went up 1.60% for the week, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s largest cryptocurrency reclaimed US$26,774.62 on Thursday evening, the highest price since Aug. 31.

Bitcoin’s rise this week “coincides with a noticeable return in investor sentiment,” Samer Hasn, market analyst at Australia-based global multi-asset broker, said in an emailed comment.

By the end of Wednesday, open interests in Bitcoin derivatives reached about 7.525 billion — its highest levels since Aug. 31, and the same applies to Ether open positions that reached around 3.7 billion, said Hasn, citing data from blockchain intelligence platform CryptoQuant.

Ether gained 1.38% to trade at US$1,629.33 but was still down 0.95% for the past seven days.

The crypto market received a boost from news that Deutsche Bank — a German lender that had US$1.4 trillion in total assets at the end of 2022 — will launch custody services for cryptocurrencies and tokenized assets of institutional customers in a partnership with Swiss fintech firm Taurus, according to a Thursday press release.

“As the digital asset space is expected to encompass trillions of dollars of assets, it’s bound to be seen as one of the priorities for investors and corporations alike. As such, custodians must start adapting to support their clients,” Paul Maley, global head of securities services at Deutsche Bank, said in the announcement.

“Deutsche Bank’s recent announcement to offer crypto custody services is a positive step towards a growing acceptance and development of crypto in the mainstream financial sector. It could also be potentially providing a renewed sense of confidence among investors,” said John Stefanidis, chief executive officer and co-founder of blockchain infrastructure decentralized organization, Balthazar DAO.

All other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies posted gains in the past 24 hours. Tron’s TRX led the winners, which rose 3.46% to US$0.08388 and added 6.15% for the week.

Meanwhile, the positive sentiment came amid regulatory battles in the U.S., as the SEC earlier this week charged Stone Cats 2 — the company behind the “Stoner Cats” animated series — with conducting an unregistered offering of crypto asset securities in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

Back in July 2021, Stone Cats 2 sold 10,000 NFTs for US$800 each to fund the Stoner Cats series. The firm has agreed to a cease-and-desist order and will pay a civil penalty of US$1 million.

The total crypto market capitalization gained 1.27% in the past 24 hours to US$1.06 trillion, while trading volume edged up 3.00% to US$28.28 billion.

U.S. equities rise following strong economic data

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Image: Getty Images

U.S. stock futures moved up as of 09:10 a.m. in Hong Kong, after Wall Street closed higher on Thursday, with Dow Jones Industrial Average leading the winners with a 0.96% increase.

Most main stock indexes in Asia rose on Wednesday morning. China’s Shanghai Composite, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, South Korea’s Kospi and Japan’s Nikkei 225 all logged gains, with Nikkei 225 spearheading the gains with a 0.87% rise.

Wall Street’s Thursday day rally followed strong economic data coming from the U.S. The country’s retail sales in August rose 0.6% by month, beating the analysts’ expectation of 0.2%. 

However, the unexpected retail sales growth was largely due to the surge in oil prices, as receipts at gasoline stations jumped 5.2% by month. With gasoline excluded, retail sales edged up 0.2% in August, decelerating from 0.5% in July and among the weakest readings this year, according to Bloomberg on Thursday.

The 0.2% uptick is still higher than the median forecast of a 0.1% drop, but also points to a slowdown in the U.S. economy. 

“While consumption has been more resilient than anticipated so far this year, the case for a slowdown is building,” Michael Pearce, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said in a note seen by Bloomberg. “More broadly, the renewed rise in gasoline prices is hitting real incomes at a time when slowing wage growth, hours worked and payroll gains are pressuring income growth.”

Elsewhere on the economic data front, the U.S. producer price index (PPI) also booked a bigger-than-expected monthly growth of 0.7% as the gasoline cost jumped 20%. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. initial jobless claims rose to 220,000 in the week ending Sept. 9, but was lower than the analysts’ expectation of 225,000, according to Reuters on Thursday. 

“There is nothing in today’s reports to prompt a Fed rates response next week, even though the labor market remains out of balance,” Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at U.S.-based financial markets research firm FWDBOND, told Reuters. “The economy is in a good place for now with moderate consumer demand that is not hot enough to bring inflation back to life.”

The CME FedWatch Tool predicts a 96% chance the central bank will maintain the current rate unchanged in its meeting on Sept. 20, which is currently in the range between 5.25% and 5.50%. It gives a 63% chance for another pause in November, up from 58.4% on Thursday.

Investors are now waiting for a slew of economic data from China on Friday, including house prices, fixed asset investment, retail sales, industrial production and unemployment. Analysts expect an acceleration in the country’s retail sales and industrial production growths in August, but also a slowdown in its fixed asset investment growth, Reuters reported on Friday.

(Updates with equity section.)