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Bitcoin tracks equities lower on hawkish Fed outlook

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Bitcoin fell on Thursday morning in Asia along with most other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies. XRP led the losers, while Litecoin gained. U.S equities fell after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected on Wednesday but later said rates could be higher for longer, while the Treasury backed away from a blanket backstop for troubled banks. Adding to crypto concerns is a lawsuit against crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun and a warning to the Coinbase exchange about some of its staking products.

See related article: Bitcoin buoyed as bank busts spook investors

Fast facts

  • Bitcoin dropped 2.53% in the past 24 hours to US$27,355 at 09:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, but still held a gain of 12.55% for the past seven days, according to CoinMarketCap data. The world’s largest cryptocurrency reached a nine-month high of US$28,803 before the slide that followed the Fed’s latest rate hike and hawkish comments.
  • Ether dropped 2.85% to US$1,739, though is still up 5.6% over the seven days.
  • XRP was the biggest loser in the 24 hours, sliding 8.66% to US$0.4219. However, it also is still up on the week by 17.57% after a surge in recent days on optimism the SEC lawsuit that involves the token is nearing resolution. 
  • Litecoin was the only top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrency that logged gains for the past 24 hours. The token rose 6.07% to US$86.63 for a weekly gain of 13.32%.
  • On Wednesday, the U.S. SEC sued Justin Sun and three of his companies – Tron Foundation Limited, BitTorrent Foundation Ltd., and Rainberry Inc. (previously known as BitTorro) – for the sale and offer of Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT), which were described by the SEC as unregistered “crypto asset securities”. It also charged the above with fraud and market manipulation, and sued eight celebrities for illegally promoting TRX and BTT, including Lindsay Lohan and Jake Paul.
  • The U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase is facing another potential lawsuit from the SEC after receiving a Wells notice that said the exchange violated securities law, adding to the ongoing conflicts between Coinbase and U.S. regulators.
  • The total crypto market capitalization dropped 2.31% in the past 24 hours to US$1.15 trillion. Total trading volume over the last 24 hours edged up 1.75% to US$68.93 billion.
  • U.S. equities closed lower on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.63%, the S&P 500 fell 1.65%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.60%. 
  • The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its target range for U.S. interest rates by the expected 25 basis points to 4.75% to 5%, the ninth interest rate hike since March 2022.
  • The Fed reaffirmed its goal to keep annual inflation below 2% and investors expect more rate hikes through the year, compared to earlier speculation for a pause due to failures and weakness in the banking industry. The U.S. consumer price index (CPI) rose 6% on year in February, a deceleration from 6.4% in January, but still well above the Fed’s 2% goal.
  • Adding to concerns, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that she had not considered or discussed a “blanket insurance or guarantees” of all U.S. bank deposits, according to Reuters.
  • Ahead of the opening of U.S. equity markets on Thursday, U.S. stock futures edged slightly higher as of 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures moved up 0.15%. The S&P 500 futures gained 0.12%. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.09%.

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