Bitcoin rose above US$24,000 for the first time since mid-August in Thursday morning trading in Asia before sliding back slightly. It gained along with Ether and most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by the expected 25 basis points overnight and Fed chair Jerome Powell said the “disinflationary process” has started in the economy. U.S. equities gained on the comments, also encouraged by a better-than-expected growth forecast at social media platform Meta Platforms Inc. Dogecoin was the only token in the top 10 to fall, but it held gains for the week.

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Fast facts

  • Bitcoin rose 3.7% to US$23,979 in the 24 hours to 10 a.m. in Hong Kong, bringing its gains to 3.5% in the past seven days. Ether added 5.6% to US$1,677 and is up 3.6% for the week, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
  • Polygon jumped 10.9% to US$1.23, gaining the most in CoinMarketCap’s list and bringing its weekly gains to 23.2%. Solana added 6.3% to US$25.38, a weekly rise of 2.4%.
  • Dogecoin lost 0.2% to US$0.09 but was still trading up 9.7% over the past week on reports Elon Musk, the Twitter Inc. boss and Dogecoin advocate, was considering bringing payment systems to the social media network.
  • The crypto market cap rose 3.7% to US$1.09 trillion, with total trading volume up 28.9% to US$60.8 billion.
  • U.S. equities rose on Wednesday. The S&P 500 Index added 1.1%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up less than 0.1%.
  • Powell’s announcement that the Fed was raising interest rates by 25 basis points – the smallest increase since March last year – had been priced into markets and reflected economic data in recent months that showed inflation had begun to cool. 
  • Labor costs are slowing with the Employment Cost Index released Tuesday adding 1.0% last quarter, the smallest gain since the end of 2021. In December, the U.S. consumer price index rose 6.5% year-on-year, well below the 7.1% in November and the largest monthly decline since April 2020.
  • However, Fed officials on Wednesday said they did not think they had finished raising rates entirely, and have indicated before that they could raise rates as high as 5%. Interest rates are currently at 4.5% to 4.75%, the highest level in 15 years.
  • Tech-giant Meta’s share price rose 2.8% to $153.12. in after-hours trading on Wednesday after it said it had reached 2 billion users for the first time and projected strong growth into 2023. The company’s Q4 revenue came in at US$32.17 billion, down from US$33.67 billion a year ago.
  • Technology companies have been slashing jobs to reduce costs in recent months and investors await earnings on Thursday from Apple Inc., Inc., and Alphabet Inc., the parent company of search engine Google.
  • U.S. non-farm payroll data is also out on Friday, another key inflation indicator.

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