Bitcoin and Ether rose in Thursday morning trading in Asia, with all non-stablecoin top 10 cryptocurrencies and traditional equity markets as U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that the central bank may start easing interest rate hikes.

See related article: Federal Reserve to taper bond purchases, prompting concerns over BTC impact

Fast facts

  • Bitcoin rose 4.4% to US$17,168 in the 24 hours to 8 a.m. in Hong Kong to trade above US$17,000 for the first time in two weeks. Ether gained 6.5% to trade at US$1,395, according to CoinMarketCap.
  • Polygon’s Matic was up 11.4% to change hands at US$0.93 while leading memecoin Dogecoin rose 4.9% to trade at US$0.106. BNB was up 1.7% to trade at US$300.67.
  • The total crypto market capitalization stood at US$863 billion, down 15.6% from US$1.023 trillion on Nov. 9, or before the exchange filed for bankruptcy. Total trading volume in crypto was up 18.6% in the past 24 hours to US$51.56 billion.
  • U.S. equities also responded positively to Powell’s comments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2%, the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 4.4% higher, and the S&P 500 Index finished the day up 3.1% to snap a three-day losing streak.
  • The Fed has been hiking interest rates since March to try to slow inflation, raising them 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 indicated it will continue to raise rates until inflation reaches 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 Fed is expected to raise interest rates by 50 basis points in the Dec. 13-14 meeting.
  • The Fed may slow down its rate hikes, but it is likely not to have immediate effects on the economy. Corporate leaders, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, have been ringing the alarm bells on the possibility of a looming recession.
  • “Trend is concerning. Fed needs to cut interest rates immediately. They are massively amplifying the probability of a severe recession,” Musk tweeted on Wednesday.
  • The U.S. November employment data is scheduled for release on Friday, a major indicator of the impact of the Fed’s hawkish stance.

See related article: What would Jerome Powell’s second term mean for crypto?