Following a week of green, crypto’s positive momentum was interrupted after the release of higher-than-expected inflation figures in the US. The Nasdaq Crypto Index (NCI) closed Sunday 3.9% below its prior weekly close, with Bitcoin (BTC) falling 4.1%, and ether (ETH) holding tighter with a 3.1% downside. The overall digital asset space performed on par with major indices, such as the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100, which declined 2.7% and 3.1%, respectively.
In the beginning of the week, crypto managed to maintain its prior seven-day gains, with BTC going above $25,000 and ETH surpassing the $1,700 mark on Tuesday morning. However, these levels didn’t last long, with prices beginning to decline as the week went on. By Wednesday, BTC had fallen below $24,000, remaining around that level for most of the day. On Thursday, crypto investors were positively surprised by the announcement of the testnet launch of Coinbase-empowered second layer Base, a secure, low-cost, developer-friendly Ethereum scaling solution “built to bring the next billion users to web3.”
On Friday, markets suffered a decline following the latest release of the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index—the Fed’s preferred thermometer for US inflation—with a 4.7% year-over-year figure for January coming in above market expectations (4.3%). The January release shows an acceleration compared to December’s 4.6%, raising concerns that the downward trend in the PCE since its September high may cool (or even reverse). This news increased the market bets on a 50 bps interest rate hike in the next Fed meeting in March, even though a 25 bps increase remains the most likely scenario. Also, lower-than-expected GDP numbers contributed to the negative sentiment as the week came to an end. BTC dipped below the $23,000 mark by Friday afternoon, with ETH following along going below $1,600. Digital assets recovered some of Friday’s losses during the weekend, with BTC closing Sunday just above $23,500, followed by ETH regaining the $1,600 mark.
For this week, investors will be watching for the US Consumer Confidence Index release on Tuesday, which may bring yet additional hints on the strength of the US consumer market and the Fed’s interest rate moves throughout 2023.
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