U.S. President Joe Biden announced a range of additional sanctions on Russia Thursday, but stopped short of the harshest actions some had expected.
- Not included in the new sanctions against the Kremlin was Russia’s elimination from the Swift global settlement and communications system for banks, with Biden saying European allies were not on board with such a move. Also not included were personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Bitcoin (BTC) had tumbled to about $34,400 in the overnight hours following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but has been gaining ground throughout the day. Those gains have sped up since the Biden press conference, with the price now just shy of $39,000.
- “Bitcoin is paring losses as some investors think the majority of the brunt of the selling is over,” said Edward Moya, financial analyst at Oanda. “The Russia-Ukraine crisis will remain a volatile situation, but most of that risk aversion has been priced in for bitcoin.”
- Stocks are in rally mode as well, with the Nasdaq – down nearly 3% at its worst levels – currently up 2.4%. The S&P 500 is now ahead 0.6%. Paring earlier gains in a big way is gold, which is off about $100 from the morning hours, and now down 1.15% for the session at $1,888 per ounce. Oil has had a major reversal as well, now at $92 per barrel after having topped $100 earlier.
- A topic of interest throughout the day has been whether Russia might consider bitcoin as a way to evade Western sanctions. Quantum Economics analyst Jason Deane said it’s an intriguing thought, and that while bitcoin might be a topic of intense interest of late it remains “too young” of a technology for this sort of purpose. Five to 10 years down the road, though, it might be a whole different story, said Deane.
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