Bitcoin traded above US$17,000 Monday morning in Asia, with all the top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies by market cap gaining ground. Investors see inflation fears easing in the U.S., the world’s biggest economy, while China has started to relax Covid-19 restrictions in many cities, raising expectations the world’s second-biggest economy will get back on the growth track after GDP slowed this year to around 3% from a target of 5.5%.  

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Fast facts

  • Bitcoin rose 1.3% to US$17,127 in the 24 hours to 8 a.m. in Hong Kong, while Ether gained 3% to US$1,278, according to data on CoinMarketCap.
  • Leading memecoin Dogecoin rose 4.4% to US$0.104, leading gains in CoinMarketCap’s list, while Polygon added 2% to US$0.92. Polkadot and the memecoin Shiba Inu both rose more than 1.5%.
  • The total crypto market cap expanded 1.3% to US$858 billion, while trading volume fell 1.8% to US$30.7 billion.
  • China has started to ease its so-called zero-Covid-19 control measures with several cities dropping the requirements for proof of negative tests for entry into public spaces.
  • Shanghai city authorities said in a Sunday statement that starting from Monday, it will stop checking PCR test results for residents to enter public venues or take public transport. Hangzhou, where Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding is headquartered, also announced on Sunday that it won’t require passengers on public transport to present negative PCR test results. Asia stock markets opened broadly higher on the developments.
  • U.S. equities had a mixed day of trading on Friday. The S&P 500 Index dropped 0.1% and the Nasdaq fell 0.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1%.
  • The U.S. jobs report out Friday showed the economy added 263,000 positions in November or more than the 200,000 expected, while the unemployment rate sits at a near 50-year low of 3.7%. While higher than expected, it’s a slower pace of growth than the 284,000 jobs added in October and the 269,000 in September, suggesting inflation is easing overall.
  • U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last week that the central bank may start easing the pace of interest rate hikes. The Fed is expected to raise rates by 50 basis points in the Dec. 13-14 meeting, down from the 75-basis points in the previous four meetings.
  • The Fed has been increasing interest rates since March to try to slow inflation, raising from near zero to a 15-year high of 3.75% to 4%, and has signaled that rates may end up exceeding 5%. The Fed has said it wants inflation in a target range of 2%. The consumer price index showed inflation was running at 7.7% in October, down from 8.2% in September.
  • The group of 23 oil-producing nations, known as OPEC+, decided on Sunday to maintain existing production cuts of 2 million barrels a day, or roughly 2% of global supply, until the end of 2023.

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