Bitcoin prices broke back above US$23,000 in Wednesday morning trading in Asia. Ether and most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies also bounced back from yesterday’s losses amid strong gains in U.S. equities for January and optimism the U.S. economy is heading for a soft landing. Top memecoin Dogecoin led the pack, still gaining from reports on Monday that long-time advocate and Twitter Inc. boss Elon Musk is looking to bring payment systems to the social media platform.
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- Bitcoin rose 1.3% to US$23,133 in the 24 hours to 8 a.m. in Hong Kong, bringing its gains to 2.2% in the past seven days. Ether added 1.2% to US$1,586 and is up 1.9% for the week, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
- Dogecoin moved 8.7% higher to change hands at US$0.09, a weekly increase of 14.3%. While Monday’s report focused on adding fiat payments to Twitter, Musk left the door open for that to be extended to cryptocurrency as well.
- Cardano rose 4.8% to US$0.39, a gain of 8.7% over the past seven days. Polygon climbed 2.1% to US$1.11 for a strong weekly gain of 16.11%. Solana dipped less than 0.1% to US$23.94, the only token to slip on the top 10 list, but is still up 5.1% for the week.
- The crypto market cap rose 1.4% to US$1.05 trillion, with total trading volume slipping 17.1% to US$47.26 billion.
- U.S. equities gained on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1%, the S&P 500 Index gained 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite Index finished the day up 1.7%.
- Tuesday’s performance rounds out a strong first month of 2023 for equity markets. The S&P 500 gained 6.2% in the last 31 days for the best start to the year since 2019, while the Nasdaq jumped 10.7% in the same period for its best January since 2001.
- Markets gained on strong earnings, with Exxon Mobil Corp and Pfizer Inc. both posted record profits off the back of surging oil prices and continuing Covid-19 vaccine production.
- The U.S. Federal Reserve decides interest rates on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Analysts at CME Group overwhelmingly expect the Fed will raise rates by 25 basis points, breaking the streak of 50 and 75 basis point hikes since March last year.
- The Fed’s aggressive rate increases last year seem to be having the desired effect on controlling inflation. 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.
- Earnings from technology leaders come this week, including Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Alphabet Inc., the parent company of search engine Google. Non-farm payroll data is also out on Friday, another key inflation indicator.
- (Updates to add US labor costs in bullet point nine.)