Bitcoin Price Eyes Breakout as Trading Range Tightens

A breakout of bitcoin’s current narrow trading range could set the tone for the next big move, price chart analysis indicates.

May 15, 2018 at 1:25 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 22, 2021 at 8:51 p.m. UTC

Omkar Godbole is the senior reporter on CoinDesk's Markets team.

Bitcoin (BTC) is stuck in a narrow $550 range between the key long-term moving averages today, but may be prepping for a breakout, the technical charts suggest.

With the bull/bear bias now unclear, the big problem now is trying to work out in which direction the price will go.

As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $8,760 on Bitfinex, and is trading between the 50-day moving average (MA) at $8,287 and the 100-day moving average at $8,837.

The sell-off from the May 5 high of $9,990 came to halt around the 50-day MA on Saturday. Further, the 50-day MA also acted as strong support on Monday. Meanwhile, on both occasions, the rebound from the 50-day MA ran out of steam around the 100-day MA hurdle.

The rangebound action seen in the last three days has established the 50-day MA as a major support and the 100-day MA as a formidable resistance and the breakout of this zone will likely set the tone for the next big move in BTC.

Daily chart

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On Monday, BTC created a doji  – a candlestick pattern, which indicates indecision in the marketplace. However, when viewed against the backdrop of the sell-off from the May 5 high of $9,990, the doji signals indecision among the bears (or bearish exhaustion). So, the immediate bearish outlook has been neutralized.

A close today (as per UTC) above the 100-day MA of $8,837 would signal bullish doji reversal and upside break of the trading range. Meanwhile, a close below the 50-day MA of $8,287 would confirm downside break of the trading range and bearish doji continuation pattern, i.e. sell-off from the recent high of $9,990 has resumed.

That said, the odds of the bullish breakout (or bull doji reversal) still appear low, as the bulls face an uphill task as seen in the chart below.

4-hour chart

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On the above chart, the falling trendline resistance is seen around $8,810 and is immediately followed by hurdle at $8,910 (expanding channel resistance).

With major moving averages (50, 100 and 200) trending south (bearish), BTC bulls will likely struggle to cut through resistance at $8,900 in a convincing manner.

Note, the bears are about to score another brownie point by pushing the 50-candle MA below the 200-candle MA (bearish crossover).

The 5-day MA and the 10-day MA (seen in the daily chart) are also biased bearish.

View

Another rejection at the descending trendline seen in the 4-hour chart will likely yield a drop to 50-day MA located at $8,287.

That said, only a daily close (as per UTC) below the 50-day MA would signal a revival of the sell-off from the recent high of $9,990 and would allow a deeper drop to $7,787 (61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the rally from the April 1 low to the May 5 high) or even as low as $7,698 (61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement of the rally from the July 2015 low to the December 2017 high).

On the other hand, a convincing move above $8,910 (expanding channel hurdle) would expose resistance lined up at $9,390.

Chalk arrows image via Shutterstock

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Omkar Godbole is the senior reporter on CoinDesk's Markets team.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Omkar Godbole is the senior reporter on CoinDesk's Markets team.

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