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Bitcoin Back Down Below $20,000 as Hawkish Fed Weighs on Crypto

Published 2022-08-29, 05:50 a/m
© Bloomberg. Bitcoin and the Byecoin app are advertised in the window of a store in Antwerp, Belgium, on Monday, June 6, 2022. Bitcoin has been trading around the $30,000 level for weeks now, defying predictions of a potential further decline but also struggling to gain upward momentum as the broader US market has also taken a beating. Photographer: Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg
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(Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin is seeing sustained trading below $20,000 for the first time since mid-July, as risk appetite wavers after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stressed that interest rates may have to stay elevated to stamp out inflation. 

The largest token fell as much as 2.3% on Monday to $19,527, the fifth day of declines. While Bitcoin had briefly dipped below $20,000 during the days following Powell’s speech Friday at the Jackson Hole conference, it had quickly rebounded to trade at around that key level. Equities also slumped across Asia and Europe, along with US futures. 

“Money is flowing out of risky assets. Crypto followed the sharp adjustment of the U.S. stock market” after Powell’s remarks, said Cici Lu, chief executive officer at consulting firm Venn Link Partners. “Markets didn’t like what he had to say and Bitcoin is resuming as a high-beta asset.” 

The $20,000 level acted as support for Bitcoin when it hit lows in recent months, but the cryptocurrency had worked its way higher in recent weeks. Before Saturday, it hadn’t been below $20,000 since July 14, and had even crossed above $25,000 earlier in August. That mini-rally was cut short as rate-hike concerns intensified, and Bitcoin has fallen around 20% since Aug. 15. 

The gyrations have come amid uncertainty about the path and magnitude of Fed rate hikes, and the effect they could have on riskier assets. 

Numerous strategists have flagged $20,000 as a key point for Bitcoin, though levels of support could lie lower as well.

Fairlead Strategies’ Katie Stockton sees long-term support in the $18,300 to $19,500 area. Fundstrat strategist Mark Newton has flagged some key areas in the $19,000 range, with a “real area of importance” around $17,500, near the June lows and which would allow for a 100% alternate wave projection of the most recent decline from mid-August, he said in a note Friday.

“If Bitcoin doesn’t hold $20,000, then $18,900 comes into play before a date with the June intraday low of $17,600,” said Antoni Trenchev, co-founder and managing partner of Nexo, in a note Sunday. “Close below that and it doesn’t look pretty.”

The past two Fridays have been tough in the crypto market, with $288 million of crypto longs liquidated on the most recent one, according to data from Coinglass. On Aug. 19, $562 million of longs were liquidated, the most since June 13. 

Ether, the second-biggest token, slid as much as 4.1% on Monday to $1,422.67, continuing a decline from around $2,000 a couple weeks ago. It has been fluctuating ahead of its much-anticipated Merge upgrade, which is due in mid-September.

“Ethereum’s drop ahead of the impending Merge is also of note as bearish sentiment appears to be taking hold across all so-called risk assets,” analysts at Bitfinex said in a note Friday. “The volatility that has become so characteristic of the digital token space shows no signs of abating.”

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

© Bloomberg. Bitcoin and the Byecoin app are advertised in the window of a store in Antwerp, Belgium, on Monday, June 6, 2022. Bitcoin has been trading around the $30,000 level for weeks now, defying predictions of a potential further decline but also struggling to gain upward momentum as the broader US market has also taken a beating. Photographer: Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg

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