Five Reasons Why 2018 Could Be Best Year Yet For Cryptocurrencies

In an earlier piece for CNBC, I explained why a potential cryptocurrency bubble could burst in 2018. Many people asked me afterward: If I’m so skeptical about the space, why am I invested in it?Let me clarify. I’m someone who always calculates the potential upsides and downsides, and I think many people take unnecessary risks: They either invest too much or too little because they don’t do proper analysis.So I want to highlight five reasons why 2018 might be the best ever year for cryptocurrencies and why I’m heavily invested in them.

Source: Bitcoin, Ethereum, other cryptocurrency: Five positive factors for 2018 – CNBC

DAX Edges Lower as German GDP Slows in Q4

24 hours of reconciliation

Cryptocurrencies Could Fall to Near-Zero at Any Time

Cryptocurrencies are a nascent asset class and could fall violently at any time, the founder of blockchain network Ethereum warned on Saturday.

“Reminder: cryptocurrencies are still a new and hyper-volatile asset class, and could drop to near-zero at any time,” Vitalik Buterin said on Twitter. “Don’t put in more money than you can afford to lose.”

Buterin added: “If you’re trying to figure out where to store your life savings, traditional assets are still your safest bet.”

Cryptocurrencies have recovered slightly from a severe sell-off which saw the market lose as much as $100 billion in market value in a single day. Bitcoin recovered to a price above $10,000 last week after falling as low as $5,947.40 the week before.

CNBC

Don’t go barking up the wrong tree in the Year of the Dog

Dollar Regains Ground Ahead of Fed Minutes

Bitcoin Breaks $11,000 as Recovery Continues

Bitcoin broke through the $11,000 mark over the weekend for the first time since the end of January as its price continues to slowly rise following a violent sell-off at the start of the month.

The price of the cryptocurrency went as high as $11,279.18 on Sunday, its most elevated level since January 30, according to CoinDesk’s bitcoin price index, which tracks prices from four major cryptocurrency exchanges.

On Monday, bitcoin was trading below $11,000, at $10,789, at around 9:30 a.m. London time (4:30 a.m. ET).

CNBC

Don’t go barking up the wrong tree in the Year of the Dog

Dollar Regains Ground Ahead of Fed Minutes

Venezuela Preparing to Launch Petro Cryptocurrency

Venezuela will launch a pre-sale of its commodity-backed “petro” cryptocurrency on Tuesday.

President Nicolas Maduro hopes the country’s own digital currency will help it to make financial transactions and get around Western sanctions.

Both the United States and the European Union have imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela over their opposition to its autocratic government. Last year, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index downgraded Venezuela from a “hybrid regime” to an “authoritarian regime” due to its “continued slide towards dictatorship.”

CNBC

Don’t go barking up the wrong tree in the Year of the Dog

Dollar Regains Ground Ahead of Fed Minutes

Futures Higher But Market Remains Vulnerable

Inflation and Retail Sales Data Eyed Markets Gradually Stabilize

US futures are pointing to a stronger open on Wednesday, building on the small gains posted at the start of the week and offering some hope that stability is slowly returning to the markets.

Given the volatility that we’ve seen over the last week or so, which was initially attributed to higher interest rate expectations following the January jobs report, traders will be closely monitoring the US inflation and retail sales releases today. Both numbers will be released shortly before the open on Wall Street and could be the trigger for further volatility, especially if the CPI exceeds expectations.

While the CPI number isn’t the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure – which could impact how traders respond to it – it is released a couple of weeks earlier than the core PCE price index and so is seen as being indicative of inflationary trends. This means markets can be sensitive to the release, particularly during times of increases sensitivity, like we’re seeing at the moment.

DAX Gains Ground on German, Eurozone Growth

Markets Still Appear Vulnerable to Downside Shocks

Volatility has remained since the initial spike last Monday although the VIX has more than halves since then, so things are calming down a little. That said, investors still appear jittery and equity markets remain some way off their highs. Yields are back at last Monday’s levels and have pushed above them in recent days so this blip hasn’t had any lasting impact on medium-term interest rate expectations, although that could change if we see further episodes.

The dollar has been one of the beneficiaries of the recent volatility, with the increased US interest rate expectations lifting the greenback off its lows after months of significant downside pressure. The dollar index rose briefly above 90 late last week before some profit taking set in and while it remains vulnerable to further selling, I wonder whether we’re going to see more of a bounce in the near-term, particularly if we get some decent numbers today.

US Dollar Index (Reuters) Daily Chart

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

Will it be a Valentines Day Massacre for the Dollar?

Bitcoin Making Steady Gains But More Pain May Lie Ahead

Bitcoin has been making steady improvements over the last week, having fallen below $6,000 briefly, roughly 70% from its high reached in December. While cryptocurrency enthusiasts will be encouraged by the period of stability in price and gradual gains during that time, I think it still looks vulnerable to near-term pain before a bottom can be claimed.

I think $9,000 to $10,000 will pose some real challenges for bitcoin but if it can overcome these levels, it will be a very encouraging sign for those bullish on the cryptocurrency. Negative news flow has been a major test for bitcoin so far this year and if that keeps coming, I struggle to see how it can gain any real upside momentum.

Bitcoin (CME) Daily Chart

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Calm Returns to Markets Ahead of BoE Event

US Futures Flat After Uneventful Session in Europe

A sense of calm appears to be gradually returning to financial markets as we near the end of the week, with indices in Europe trading a little lower and US futures flat after ending Wednesday’s session in a similar manner.

While volatility in the markets has eased over the last couple of days, it has remained at very high levels which is probably a sign of the ongoing nervousness among investors which may leave markets vulnerable to further declines. Still, the European session has so far been relatively uneventful compared to the last few days which may be a positive sign ahead of the open in the US.

The sell-off on Monday was widely attributed to rising yields on the back of higher interest rate expectations in the US and Europe, although it was likely exacerbated by a combination of other factors, such as automated trading and fear of a broader correction given how long it had been since the last. It’s interesting then that while yields fell after the stock market sell-off, they have been creeping higher again and now find themselves not far from the levels they were at on Monday. Should we avoid another plunge in stocks, it would suggest that yields may have been the catalyst but ultimately, the selling that followed was driven by other factors, perhaps including a belief that a correction was overdue.

Are BoE Interest Rate Expectations Too Bullish?

Will Carney Adopt Cautious Approach Given Market Volatility?

It will be very interesting to see what approach the Bank of England takes when it holds its quarterly press conference later on, given the recent market volatility. Central banks typically approach these events with incredible caution due to the ability of a seemingly harmless comment to cause excessive swings as traders pick apart everything that’s said.

Governor Mark Carney may have to be extra careful today then, particularly if the BoE is planning to lay the foundation for a rate hike this year, with an increasing number of people suggesting one will come in May. I remain unconvinced by this given the amount of economic uncertainty, soft economic data and the fact that inflation is believed to have peaked. Should the new forecasts contain an upgrade to the inflation outlook then perhaps this will nudge policy makers towards raising interest rates again.

GBPUSD Daily Chart

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With no change in interest rates expected, traders will be paying very close attention to the new forecasts, as well as the press conference with Carney and his colleagues. If the BoE is considering a hike in May, you would expect it to start laying the groundwork for it today and at the meeting in March, which could provide additional upside pressure in UK debt and sterling, which is already trading at pre-referendum levels against the dollar.

Market Jitters Remain

Crypto Rebound May Be Short-Lived

The rebound in bitcoin is continuing today, with the cryptocurrency now up more than 40% from the lows posted two days ago. In any other asset other than cryptocurrencies, this kind of move would be staggering but instead this is just another day for bitcoin. It is also only a small rebound compared to the declines it’s seen over the last couple of months and may prove to be yet another dead cat bounce, albeit one that exceeds 40%.

Bitcoin Daily Chart

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

I’m not convinced yet that any rebound will be sustained as we continue to see a steady stream of negative news flow which has severely damaged sentiment in cryptocurrencies. The rally towards the end of last year was driven by the buzz and positive sentiment towards bitcoin and its peers – as well as a large speculative push from FOMO traders – and the reversal of this has equally weighed heavily on it. If that continues, I see no reason why it won’t be back below $6,000 in the not too distant future.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

US Futures Pare Losses After Monday’s Plunge

Markets Stabilise Ahead of the Open on Wall Street

US futures are gradually stabilising again ahead of the open on Wall Street on Tuesday, following an extremely volatile session at the start of the week and more of the same in overnight trade.

The sudden and sharp declines in equity markets over the last couple of sessions is still being attributed to higher interest rate expectations although the move appears to have been exacerbated by a combination of automated trading and panic selling. We’ve become so accustomed to dips being bought over the last couple of years that this appears to have caught people off-guard and that’s generated some of the panic responses that we’ve seen.

Now that the dust appears to be settling, people seem to be reflecting on this as a reminder that market corrections are perfectly normal and not always a sign that something is about to go terribly wrong. The rally over the last couple of years has been very strong and without any corrections of note and it’s possible that this has led to some complacency in the markets, with investors perhaps getting a little ahead of themselves.

Dow (US30) Daily Chart

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Of course we’ll have to wait and see over the next couple of days if the sell-off generates and further fear-driven selling but I’m not currently convinced it would be warranted. The economic fundamentals appear fine and the environment has been gradually improving over the last couple of years. This has led to higher interest rate expectations and it’s possible that these have gone a little too far.

Dow Suffers Biggest Ever One Day Points Loss

Bitcoin Falls Below $6,000 For First Time Since November

It’s not just stock market investors that have been burned in recent days, cryptocurrency traders are also feeling the heat, as another plunge in bitcoin sees it trading back around $6,000, almost 70% off its December highs. Some other cryptocurrencies have fared even worse, with Ripple now more than 80% off its peak which was reached only a month ago. A constant flow of negative news flow hasn’t helped the market for cryptocurrencies and neither, I would imagine, will the exit of speculators that helped inflation the bubble late last year.

Bitcoin (CME) Daily Chart

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

Bitcoin has found some support again after dipping back below $6,000 earlier today for the first time since the middle of November. With cryptocurrencies being such a sentiment driven market, I wouldn’t be surprised to see further losses even if prices do stabilize or even bounce in the near-term. Most cryptocurrencies are still up a considerable amount since the start of last year which some will point to as evidence that they have a lot further to fall and others as evidence of the belief that still exists in the space. Ultimately, we’re seeing the market being flushed out which could prove handy in highlighting which players are serious and which simply piggybacked on the success of others.

EUR/USD – Euro Rebounds After Monday Losses, German Factory Orders Soar

No Room For Bitcoin When Traders Sought Safe Havens

Interestingly, despite the insistence of some that bitcoin could be the new Gold, we’ve seen little evidence of it benefiting from the recent panic. Gold on the other hand did see some safe haven flows late on Monday and is trading a little higher once again today. As is the yen, which is typically seen as a safe haven currency and is trading higher against the euro and pound today. It has pared its gains in the last few hours though as equity markets have pared losses.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

US Futures Add to Friday’s Losses

Wall Street Poised For Sharp Losses Again on Monday

US futures are trading back in the red again on Monday, adding to substantial declines seen on Friday when higher interest rate and inflation expectations weighed heavily on stocks.

We’ve seen a sharp increase in US bond yields over the last week after the Federal Reserve released a more hawkish than expected statement – alongside its monetary policy decision – and the jobs data reported a significant increase in earnings. Markets now have three rate hikes this year more than 50% priced in and some people are even anticipating a fourth, which is unusually ahead of current Fed forecasts.

While Friday’s declines were larger than we’ve become accustomed to and the biggest drop in the Dow since June 2016, I don’t think it yet signals that a large correction is underway. Small corrections are normal in markets, even if we haven’t experienced them as often in recent years. Asian and European markets have suffered significant losses this morning in response to the US declines on Friday but we’ll have to see over the coming days whether this will trigger more downside.

Dow 30 Daily Chart

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Equities Slump Deepens; Dollar Steady

Bitcoin Testing $7,600 Lows Again

Bitcoin on other hand is struggling yet again at the start of the week and is trading back below $8,000 at the time of writing. Cryptocurrencies have seriously fallen out of favour since the middle of December and constant negative news flow and speculation of increased regulation has exacerbated the move lower, much in the same way that the constant flow of positive news stories aided the explosion higher.

Bitcoin (CME) Daily Chart

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

In much the same way that picking the high on the way up proved to be extremely difficult, it’s tough to establish a realistic low for bitcoin and others. It would appear cryptos can’t rely on the speculators to drive prices higher again as its likely they’ve been severely burned over the last couple of months and may be reluctant to jump back in.

BoE “Super Thursday” Eyed This Week

This week will be a little quieter than the one just gone, although there are a few central bank meetings that traders will be keen on. The Bank of England meeting stands out, with it being accompanied by the quarterly inflation report and press conference with Governor Mark Carney. The central bank raised interest rates last year and many people expect another in 2018. With the economic outlook so uncertain though and inflation probably having peaked, I question whether another rate hike is as nailed on as some would suggest.

DAX Drops to 17-Week Low, Eurozone Retail Sales Slide

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

OANDA Weekly Podcast

 

A look back at the Business week with Jonny Hart from the Jazz FM Business Breakfast and OANDA Senior Market Analyst Craig Erlam. Talking points include Craig’s “moment of the week”,  US jobs and interest rates, bitcoin and Capita. Jonny and Craig also preview next week’s Bank of England monetary policy decision, otherwise known as “Super Thursday”.

Dollar Rebounds After Strong Jobs Report

By the numbers: U.S January NFP fallout

US Yields Near Four Year High Ahead of Jobs Data

US Yields Near Four Year High Ahead of Jobs Data

Are Rising Yields Weighing on Equity Markets?

It’s been another rocky start to trading in Europe on Friday and the US looks on course for a similar open, with Dow futures off around 1%.

It’s been another big week for earnings, with Apple, Amazon and Alphabet all releasing number after the close on Thursday and another 11 S&P 500 companies reporting today. At the same time, there’s been a number of important data releases this week as well as a monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve which has triggered another rally in US yields, with the 10-year Treasury having hit a high of 2.8%, the first time we’ve seen these levels since April 2014.

We’ve also seen corresponding rises in Europe with Gilt yields at their highest since May 2015 and Bunds at their highest since September 2015. This may well be contributing to the declines we’ve seen recently across Europe – along with the corresponding appreciation of the euro and pound – and could now be taking its toll on US stocks. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve entered a risk-off period or that stocks are headed for a correction but a sharp rise in yields, as we’ve seen, can also weigh on equity markets.

DAX Slips to 4-Week Lows as Deutsche Bank Shares Plunge

US Jobs Data Eyed as Fed Insists That Inflation Will Rise

With yields now rising, all eyes will be on the US jobs report today. With the Fed anticipating higher inflation and markets buying into the idea of higher rates, the jobs data will be very closely monitored. Naturally, the non-farm payrolls and unemployment numbers will be noted, with around 180,000 new jobs expected, but it’s the earnings that people will be most interested in.

If we’re going to see a sustainable increase in inflation to 2%, wages will need to rise at a faster rate than they have for years now. The Fed has repeatedly claimed that labour market slack is deteriorating and that higher wages and inflation should follow but that is yet to materialise. Whether that’s due to slack still existing that standard measures overlook or other structural issues, it creates a problem for the central bank which is intent on continuing to raise rates. Wages are expected to have risen by 2.6% in January, up from 2.5% in December which is an improvement but not enough to satisfy the doubters.

What to look for in U.S payrolls (NFP)

Bitcoin’s Slump Continues as Losses Near 60% Since Mid-December

Bitcoin’s slump is continuing on Friday, with the cryptocurrency now trading close to $8,000 and down another 10%, with a raft of stories being blamed for its latest decline. In much the same way that every day seemed to produce another good news story for cryptocurrencies in November and early December during its ascent, we’re currently seeing the opposite in motion during its downfall with hardened regulation, outright bans, hacking and investigations being a daily occurrence.

Source – Thomson Reuters Eikon

Whether its Indian authorities cracking down on cryptocurrencies, Facebook banning adverts or the US CFTC subpoenaing Bitfinex and Tether – as suspicions grow on the relationship between the two after speculation that the latter is being created to drive the price of bitcoin higher – it seems that there’s a lot of negative news at the moment and that’s seriously taking its toll. Bitcoin is now down close to 60% from its peak and some others are faring even worse, with Ripple down around 80% in the last month following its own meteoric rise last year.

The buy the dip mentality that supported the rise of cryptos last year even through some testing times is fading by the day. We’ve seen some resilience at times over the last month and a half, most notable around $13,000 and $10,000 in bitcoin but both of these eventually gave way. In much the same way that it was difficult to pick the peak on the way up, it’s tough to pick the bottom now but based on current sentiment and momentum, it looks likely that the rout isn’t quite over yet.

Economic Calendar

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.