Cryptocurrencies started the working week in Asia in the red, with Bitcoin, Ether and the rest of the top 10 non-stablecoin tokens trading lower on Monday morning. Concern is still evident about the fate of crypto bank Silvergate, which warned of financial problems last week, and the potential fallout. Several leading crypto platforms have cut ties with the bank. These concerns overrode the bullish day for U.S. equities on Friday as comments from Federal Reserve officials seemed to ease worries about sharper interest rate hikes ahead. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell appears before Congress this week to give more indications on current policy views at the central bank.
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- Bitcoin edged 0.45% lower in the past 24 hours to US$22,465 as of 09:30 a.m. in Hong Kong, according to CoinMarketCap data, bringing its seven-day loss to 4.33%. Ether dropped 0.98% to US$1,567, losing 4.15% in the past seven days.
- Solana fell 2.48% to US$20.96 and is down 9.09% for the week. Solana Labs unveiled a plan to improve network upgrades last Wednesday, after a glitch slowed down transactions on Solana and forced the network to restart on Feb. 26.
- XRP dropped 2.35% to US$0.37, for a weekly loss of 2.48%. Ripple, the crypto payment network powered by XRP, said last Friday that a recent ruling by the U.S. supreme court was in support of Ripple in its ongoing lawsuit with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to Reuters.
- Silvergate Bank discontinued the Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN) on Friday, a service that allowed clients to make transactions around the clock. Silvergate said on Thursday it was evaluating “its ability to continue as a going concern,” which resulted in multiple crypto firms cutting ties with the embattled bank.
- The total crypto market capitalization moved 0.33% higher in the past 24 hours to US$1.03 trillion. Total trading volume over the last 24 hours rose 7.76% to US$28.85 billion.
- U.S. equities closed higher on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.17%, the S&P 500 moved up 1.61% and the Nasdaq Composite Index posted the largest gain of 1.97%.
- The rise in equity markets followed Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic comment that he favors a 25 basis point increase in interest rates when the Fed meets later this month, which is in line with market expectations. He also suggested the series of rate hikes that started last year to tackle a surge in inflation may pause by summer. However, Bostic and Fed Governor Christopher Waller both stressed the Fed will be guided by what the data shows on inflation.
- Investors are positioning for this week’s U.S. data releases on factory orders on Monday, the state of the job market on Friday, and comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell when he appears before the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday.
- The Fed will make its next move on interest rates on March 22, with rates currently between 4.5% to 4.75%, the highest since October 2007. Analysts at the CME Group expect a 73.0% chance that the Fed will raise rates by another 25 basis points this month. They also predict a 27.0% chance for a raise of 50 basis points, a decrease from 27.7% last Friday.
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