Bitcoin Creeps Toward $40K as Surging Oil Prices Create Bear Market Worry

The largest cryptocurrency's upward move came as stocks fell due to concerns over mounting inflationary pressures.

AccessTimeIconMar 7, 2022 at 2:51 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 7, 2022 at 9:33 p.m. UTC

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

Bitcoin (BTC) rose toward the key psychological threshold of $40,000, three days after losing the foothold, even as stocks slipped due to concerns over surging oil prices.

As of press time the largest cryptocurrency by market value was changing hands just above $39,000, after dipping below $38,000 earlier in the session.

Brent crude jumped as high as $139 a barrel on Monday, a 14-year high – not too far away from the record $147 reached in 2008.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 and Asia Dow dropped more than 3%, while U.S. S&P 500 futures traded 1.4% lower. In India, the rupee lost 1.1% to trade at a record 76.98 per dollar. Germany’s benchmark DAX Index lost 4% on Monday, entering the dreaded “bear market” territory – a term for when assets lose more than 20% of their value over two months.

The fear in traditional markets is that soaring oil prices might put more upward pressure on inflation, already running at its fastest in four decades, adding to economic challenges that include Russia's invasion of Ukraine and supply-chain bottlenecks.

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Bitcoin bulls defended the $38,400 level on Monday. (TradingView)

During Asia morning hours, losses on most major cryptocurrencies ranged from 5% to over 8% before bitcoin’s run caused a slight recovery. Binance’s BNB, Terra’s LUNA and XRP regained losses to trade flat in the past 24 hours, while Solana’s SOL and Cardano’s ADA lost over 3%.

The crypto fear and greed index – which tracks market sentiment – reached readings of 23, implying a state of “extreme fear” in the market. Such values are a sign that investors are too worried and the market could see a recovery, compared to readings above 60 while signal greed in the market and the chance of a due correction.

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Sentiment gauges suggested "extreme fear" in the crypto market. (Alternative.me)

Some analysts say the crypto market’s correlation to broader traditional finance has weakened its narrative as an inflation hedge. On the other hand, bitcoin has reacted negatively to the Federal Reserve's efforts to tamp down the upward pressure on consumer prices.

“Cryptocurrencies do not remain aloof from politics, and they are weakly confirming the role of an alternative to the banking system now,” shared Alex Kuptsikevich, financial analyst at FxPro, in an email to CoinDesk. “With a sharp decline over the weekend, bitcoin wiped out the initial gains, gave away the positions to bears after the third straight week of gains.”

Others say a global recession could materialize if the Fed pushes forward aggressively to boost interest rates.

“Many predict a global recession is on the horizon if the Federal Reserve decides to hike rates aggressively starting from March 16,” wrote Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at the crypto broker GlobalBlock, in an email.

Sotiriou, however, is among traders who remain bullish on the long-term promise of cryptocurrencies.

“I think that the introduction of regulatory clarity in the U.S., even if it hinders innovation at first, will ignite the next wave of money to enter the crypto markets,” Sotiriou stated. “This is how a $100,000-$500,000 price for bitcoin is achievable over the next five years.”

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Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.