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Bitcoin Price Gets Fed Boost but Bond Yields Could Play Spoilsport: Analysts

The Federal Reserve has strengthened bitcoin's appeal as an inflation hedge, opening doors for a continued price rally.

Mar 18, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:28 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin's bull run looks set to continue after the Federal Reserve reconfirmed its pro-stimulus stance this week.

The largest cryptocurrency was up for a third straight day, gaining 0.7% to about $59,300 as of 17:32 coordinated universal time (1:30 p.m. ET).

The price rise came as 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yields topped 1.75%, a day after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday signaled that policymakers at the central banks would keep monetary policy at unusually loose levels for the foreseeable future to give the economy more time to heal. Such a stance could allow output and employment to recover quickly, potentially fueling a rapid reheating that could ultimately lead to faster inflation.

The higher Treasury bond yields reflect investors' demand for extra returns to compensate for the risk of inflation. A growing number of investors are betting that bitcoin might act as a hedge against a decline in the dollar's purchasing power, and the German lender Deutsche Bank published a report this week stating that bitcoin is "now too important to ignore" given its $1 trillion market capitalization.

"The narrative for bitcoin as the preferred store of value has only strengthened in the wake of [Fed Chair Jerome] Powell's comments," Matthew Dibb, co-founder and COO of Stack Funds said. "Our outlook on BTC remains very bullish. Recent retracement to $53,000 was a short-lived pullback before the cryptocurrency makes way to fresh all-time highs."

Powell pushed back against speculation of an early unwinding of monetary stimulus on Wednesday, boosting the appeal of inflation hedges such as bitcoin.

"The strong bulk of the committee is not showing a rate increase during this forecast period,” Powell said during a virtual press conference Wednesday following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, according to Bloomberg. The central bank head added that it was “not yet” time to talk about reducing the central bank’s liquidity-boosting asset purchases.

According to Denis Vinokourov, head of research at trading sentiment data provider Trade the Chain, further gains could be in the offing due to the Fed's decision to raise the per counterparty limit in the overnight reverse repurchase operations from $30 billion to $80 billion.

"The hike implies that the Fed wants to keep overnight rates [short-term borrowing costs] low," Vinokourov said. "Thus, it's dollar-negative and, in turn, should spur on flow back into assets."

Besides, with the Fed-related uncertainty out of the way, bitcoin and the broader crypto market may now see a stimulus, or "stimmies," rally, as tweeted by trader Alex Kruger. As per Mizuho Securities' estimates, Americans may spend nearly $40 billion of the latest round of direct stimulus checks on bitcoin and stocks, boosting their prices.

Bitcoin's daily chart is also painting a bullish picture.

Bitcoin's daily chart

Bitcoin jumped over 3% on Wednesday, confirming a bull revival signaled by Tuesday's "hammer" candle and shifting focus to record highs above $61,000 reached on Saturday.

Yield worries persists

Bitcoin bulls will be keeping an eye on the U.S. bond market because a faster rise in yields could weigh on equities, inviting selling pressure for bitcoin, too.

"A rise in yields is problematic period, but a speedy ascent can destabilize markets," Kruger told CoinDesk in a Telegram chat.

Equities and bitcoin took a hit in the last week of February, with the cryptocurrency falling by 20% as the 10-year yield spiked to 12-month highs above 1.5%.

Similar downturns could be seen if the yield continues to rise. At press time, the 10-year bond is seen at a 14-month high of 1.72% versus 1.62% pre-Fed Reserve announcement and 1.52% a week ago. The Fed's reassurance of continued stimulus support has so far failed to keep the benchmark yield from extending its recent rise.

However, pullbacks in bitcoin, if any, would be short-lived, according to LMAX Digital's currency strategist. "As bitcoin matures into a full-fledged store of value asset, risk-off events will be bitcoin-supportive," Kruger said in a Twitter response to CoinDesk.

Bitcoin is currently changing hands near $58,450, up 6.3% over 24 hours, according to CoinDesk 20 data.

DISCLOSURE

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