Litecoin's (LTC) price has doubled in the first three months of 2019 to register its best first-quarter performance on record.
The fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is currently trading at $61, representing a 100 percent gain on January's opening price of $30. It clocked a six-month high of $64.20 earlier this month, according to Bitfinex data.
Last year, prices had dropped 48.5, 30, 24.6 and 49 percent in each quarter, respectively. The four-quarter losing streak was the second largest on record and saw prices fall by 86 percent.
- As can be seen, LTC's 100 percent rise in Q1, 2019, is the biggest first-quarter gain on record.
- This the second time that LTC has appreciated in the first three months of the calendar year. The cryptocurrency last rallied in Q1 two years ago.
The stellar gains seen in the first quarter of 2019 could be associated with the mining reward halving, due later this year.
On Aug. 8, the reward for mining on the litecoin blockchain will be reduced from 25 LTC to 12.5 LTC. The shift means miners will be adding fewer coins to the ecosystem after August, possibly leading to supply deficit.
The process is repeated every four years and tends to put a bid under the cryptocurrency at least six to seven months in advance, according to historical data.
For instance, LTC created a long-term low near $1.12 in January 2015 and rose to highs above $8.70 in July before falling back below $4.00 ahead of Aug. 25 – a day when the mining reward was cut in half from 50 to 25 LTC.
With bitcoin rallying 100 percent in Q1, history seems to be repeating itself. So, LTC could rise even further in the second quarter, albeit after a pullback, as technical charts are showing signs of bullish exhaustion.
Daily and weekly charts
On the daily chart, the relative strength index (RSI) has created a series of lower highs as opposed to higher highs in price. That bearish divergence on the RSI indicates buyer exhaustion and scope for a pullback, possibly to immediate support at $53.00 (March 12 low).
Acceptance below that level would confirm a short-term bearish reversal and open the doors to $45.00, which marks the confluence of the 200-day and 200-week moving average (MA).
On the higher side, a high-volume move above the recent high of $64.20 would revive the bullish view, although that looks unlikely for now, as the longer duration MA studies are still biased bearish.
LTC seems to have found acceptance above the 10-month MA, currently at $53.60. The average, however, is still trending south, indicating a bearish setup. As a result, further gains, if any, could be short-lived and a sustained rally will likely unfold once the average has bottomed out.
Validating that argument is the fact that LTC consolidated around the 10-month MA for almost a year before entering the bull market in Q1 2017.
Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.
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