Gold, Not Bitcoin, Is Drawing Haven Demand on US Recession Fears

The increased likelihood of a U.S. recession has brought a boost to gold prices. For bitcoin, though, it's a different story.

AccessTimeIconOct 3, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:31 a.m. UTC

Fears of a U.S. recession have resurfaced over the last two days and the resulting risk aversion is bringing a boost to gold. For bitcoin, though, it's a different story.

The U.S. Institute of Supply Management said Tuesday its manufacturing index fell to a 10-year low of 47.8 percent last month from 49.1 percent in August. A below-50 reading indicates contraction in manufacturing activity.

The gloomy data suggests a boosted risk of a recession in 2020, as seen in the chart below tweeted by popular analyst Holger Zschaepitz.

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The threat of a recession has sent global equities lower. Notably, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 450 points in day two of a sell-off.

Meanwhile, gold has risen from $1,460 to $1,500 per ounce in the last 48 hours and is now looking to extend gains. The yellow metal, a classic safe haven asset, is clearly benefiting from the recession concerns and the resulting risk aversion.

Bitcoin, however, has been largely trapped in a $8,200–$8,500 range since Tuesday. In fact, the top cryptocurrency’s bounce from recent lows near $7,700 has run out of steam near the 200-day moving average (MA) resistance at $8,483 over the last 48 hours.

The lack of demand for bitcoin as a safe haven asset amid the economic worries appears to contradict the argument often put forward by many observers that the cryptocurrency is digital gold.

Many investors also consider BTC as a store of value and a hedge against the aggressive expansionary monetary policies adopted by the major central banks. The odds of Federal Reserve delivering 2019’s third interest rate cut in October have gone up from 40 to 64 percent over the last two days, according to CME’s FedWatch tool.

Even so, BTC is struggling to find bids. In fact, the cryptocurrency fell from $10,000 to $8,000 in September despite the European Central Bank’s decision to cut rates by 10 basis points to -0.50 percent.

These factors suggest BTC is yet to take over the role of a classic safe haven and remains a largely uncorrelated asset.

The situation may change in the future, though, if traditional investor participation in the cryptocurrency market increases. After all, BTC seems to have all the properties of haven assets. For instance, it is not linked to government currencies and is deflationary in nature, which gives it an innate value, like rare metals, as noted by Reuters.

As for the next 24 hours, the probability of BTC falling below $8,000 is high, as per the technical charts.

Daily and 4-hour charts

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On Tuesday, bitcoin created a doji candle – a sign of indecision – at the 200-day moving average, aborting the corrective bounce from recent lows near $7,700.

A convincing move above the 200-day MA, currently at $8,483, would invite stronger buying pressure, as discussed earlier this week.

A break above the key average looks unlikely, however, as the 4-hour chart (above right) is reporting a failed double bottom breakout – Tuesday's move above the trendline was short-lived. The failed breakout indicates the sentiment is still quite bearish and validates the price-negative readings on the longer duration indicators.

The 4-hour chart relative strength index has fallen back below 50, indicating bearish conditions. As a result, a fall back to levels below $8,000 looks likely.

If the 200-day MA is breached, a quick move to$8,900 could be seen, as the daily chart MACD histogram is producing higher lows – a sign of weakening bearish momentum.

Overall, the outlook will remain bearish as long as prices are trading below $9,097.

Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.

Bitcoin image via CoinDesk Archives; charts by Trading View


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