Bitcoin rose and traded above US$30,000 on Wednesday afternoon in Asia, while Ether fell along with most top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Solana lost the most, followed by Binance’s BNB token. Most Asian and European equities fell along with U.S. stock futures, as investors brace for another interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

See related article: SEC’s Gary Gensler dodges question on whether Ethereum is a security

Fast facts

  • Bitcoin rose 0.98% to US$30,080 in 24 hours to 4 p.m. in Hong Kong, and has risen 0.25% on the week, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is expected to reach a high of US$42,225 and close the year at  US$35,485, according to a survey by Australia-based information services platform Finder.  
  • Ethereum dropped 1.3% to US$2,073, after gaining 10.81% on the week. Data from on-chain analysis company CryptoQuant showed a slump in Ethereum-related purchases on crypto exchanges after a blockchain upgrade last week to enable the withdrawal of staked Ether. 
  • Solana led the losers in top 10 cryptos, losing 2.89% to US$24.37, but gained 2.81% on the week. BNB, the native token of world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, dropped 2.24% to US$336.97, after gaining 5.52% in the last seven days.
  • XRP gained 1.21% to US$0.5224 in 24 hours after strengthening 2.96% on the week. 
  • The total crypto market capitalization was unchanged at US$1.27 trillion, while the total crypto market volume gained 2.3% to US$45.47 billion in the last 24 hours.
  • The Forkast 500 NFT index fell 0.36% to 4,050.43 points during the day but gained 1.75% during the week. The index is a proxy measure of the performance of the global NFT market and includes 500 eligible smart contracts on any given day. It is managed by CryptoSlam, a sister company of Forkast.News under the Forkast.Labs umbrella.
  • Asian equity markets mostly dropped on Wednesday despite China’s better-than-expected recovery in the first quarter. “Currently, we are working on drafting documents on the recovery and expansion of consumption, mainly focusing on key areas such as stabilizing big-ticket consumption, enhancing service consumption and expanding rural consumption,” the state planner’s spokesperson Meng Wei said on Wednesday, according to a Reuters report
  • The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.68% and the Shenzhen Component Index lost 0.84%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 1.37% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.18%. South Korea’s Kospi strengthened 0.16%.
  • European equity markets were mixed, after rising to a year-high on Tuesday. The STOXX 600 fell 0.25% while Germany’s DAX 40 rose 0.14%. Investors remained cautious after Britain’s latest consumer price index report showed inflation slowed less than expected in March, bolstering expectations that the Bank of England will deliver another 25 basis points rate hike in May.
  • Investors also remain concerned over the direction of interest rates in the U.S. as the Federal Reserve is almost certainly looking to take another 25 basis point hike during its meeting next month, according to comments by Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic on Tuesday. Interest rates in the world’s largest economy are currently between 4.75% and 5%, the highest since June 2006. 
  • U.S. stock futures weakened on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Futures slid 0.33%, S&P 500 Futures fell 0.4%, and the Nasdaq 100 Futures declined 0.55%.
  • The U.S. dollar inched up 0.2% to 101.9 points on Wednesday, while the euro slid 0.14% to US$1.09, close to its two-year high of US$1.1075 on April 14.
  • “The U.S. currency is now on a downward trend that we expect to continue throughout the rest of 2023,” said Nigel Green, chief executive of financial advisory firm deVere Group.
  • “The sustained dollar correction will be largely driven by markets aggressively pricing-in that the U.S. Federal Reserve is pretty much at the peak of its tightening agenda – an agenda that supported the currency throughout 2022,” Green added.
  • Gold fell 1.25% to US$1,990 on Wednesday to its lowest this month.
  • See related article: Bitcoin rebounds as Eth withdrawal queue gets longer