The sharp rise in bond yields in the US and Europe has hit not only the stock market, but also the “carry trade”, providing support to funding currencies, primarily the euro and the US dollar. Recall that the funding currency is usually a currency with a low interest rate. Implementing the carry trade strategy, traders borrow it and then deposit it in another currency, such as developing countries, with a higher rate. And now the fall in risk sentiment has led to an exit from such deals, and the strengthening of both EUR and USD. Apparently, this can explain the consolidation of this pair. And if the preponderance was on the side of the dollar in the first half of the week, then, investors began to buy up the cheaper euro starting from Wednesday, February 17. As a result, having started the week at the level of 1.2120, the EUR/USD pair ended it almost there, at the level of 1.2115;
The pound continues to push north, approaching the 2018 highs. The pair broke through the psychologically important level of 1.4000 on Friday, February 19, recording a weekly high at the height of 1.4035. It completed the trading session at the same level 1.4000, after a slight rebound. The American currency lost to the British one amid weak data from the US labor market. Investors expected a decrease in the number of initial applications for unemployment benefits from 848 thousand to 765 thousand, while, on the contrary, it rose to 861 thousand over the week.
The number of secondary applications was not encouraging either, it decreased from 4.558 million to 4.494 million, instead of the forecasted 4.413 million. Investors were fast to recall the statements of the FRS officials that it would take more than one year to return the labor market to the previous levels, and that it was necessary to take new measures to support the US economy.
But the data on the consumer market and business activity, released in the UK last week, looked pretty good. The Markit index in February was at 49.7 against 39.5, only slightly short of 50, the threshold that separates growth in economic activity from its fall. These figures have once again strengthened the confidence of buyers of the British currency that the Bank of England will refrain from allocating new funds under QE and from cutting the interest rate. As a result, the GBP/USD pair went further up, taking the next important milestone - 1.4000;
The main trends of this pair, as well as EUR/USD, were determined last week by disappointing data from the US labor market and a sharp rise in government bond yields. The Japanese GDP data released on Monday 15 February, although was significantly better than the forecast (3.0% versus 2.3%), had no effect on market sentiment, once again showing that the rate of this pair is being formed in the USA.
Recall that the opinions of experts last week were divided almost equally: 40% supported the growth of the pair, 30% were for its fall and as much for lateral movement. And, in general, everyone turned out to be right. The pair grew for the first half of the week, reaching a height of 106.20, then it fell, and the finish of the five-day period took place near the place where it had already started on February 08 - at 105.40;
As we predicted, bitcoin has hit the $50,000 bar and is quoted at $55,000 at the time of writing. Starting from February 01, the main cryptocurrency added about 60% in weight, the growth of Ethereum (ETH/USD) amounted to a little less than 50%, the leader in this three was Litecoin (LTC/USD) with 80%.
In general, the situation for the digital market is quite positive. Even conservative structures such as American banks have turned their views in its direction. The oldest US bank, BNY Mellon, has announced the start of work with bitcoin and other digital assets. Another major US bank, JPMorgan Chase, is also ready to support bitcoin trading. It became known that JPMorgan Chase organized a virtual meeting in January with the participation of thousands of traders and sales professionals from different parts of the world, during which it inquired about their interest in trading BTC. And last week, another bank, Goldman Sachs, held a closed forum for employees and customers on the topic of cryptocurrencies, at which the speaker was Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital.
The statements of a number of US politicians and officials also have a positive impact on the price of digital assets. For example, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced that he had already taken a number of steps to legalize cryptocurrency. “We have made bitcoin an available currency for potential investors. In addition, employees can receive salaries in cryptocurrency, which is a huge step forward,” he wrote on Twitter. Candidate for mayor of New York and former candidate for US President Andrew Young supported his colleague, saying that he will try to make the financial center of the world become a center for cryptocurrencies as well. And St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard called bitcoin a rival for gold.
Institutional investors continue to buy both cryptocurrencies and shares of miners and crypto funds. So, the Grayscale Investments fund added 20,000 ETH to its Ethereum portfolio last week, bringing its volume to $6 billion. Another impetus for the growth of the BTC/USD pair was MicroStrategy's decision to raise another $900 million to buy bitcoins.
Overall, the supply / demand ratio remains in favor of bitcoin: 150,000 BTC coins were mined and almost 360,000 were bought back over the last five months of 2020, and investors hope that this balance will continue in the future.
At the same time, buyers look at the head of Tesla Elon Musk, whose tweets alone push the quotes sharply upward. However, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now interested in his "creativity" on Twitter, considering that the billionaire's calls to buy digital assets fall under the law on the offer and advertising of securities and can be regarded as unregistered brokerage activities and attempts to manipulate the market. If proven, Elon Musk could face huge fines. In the meantime, the entrepreneur said that he was taking a break and would no longer post tweets, at least in the near future.
As for the total cryptocurrency market capitalization, even without Musk's tweets, it grew over the week from $1,458 billion to $1,625 billion. And the Crypto Fear & Greed Index is slowly but inexorably approaching its maximum value of 100 points. It has now reached 93, which indicates a strong overheating of the market.
As for the forecast for the coming week, summarizing the views of a number of experts, as well as forecasts made on the basis of a variety of methods of technical and graphical analysis, we can say the following:
The European Union is still under blockade of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in the United States, not everything is as rosy as expected. Weak data on the labor market, the growth of initial applications for unemployment benefits put pressure on the dollar.
It can be understood from the statements of ECB executives that even if bond yields in Europe continue to rise, the bank is unlikely to increase the volume of the quantitative easing (QE) programme. Officials from the Governing Council of the ECB believe that the measures they have taken are quite sufficient, it just takes some time for them to have the maximum positive effect.
The situation is exactly the opposite on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Judging by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's appeals to the US Congress and the Federal Reserve minutes published on February 18, QE volumes will continue to increase. The soft monetary policy will continue until the economy of this country shows steady growth. The next measure will be the adoption of another stimulus package worth $1.9 trillion.
In such a situation it is logical to expect a weakening of the dollar in the medium term, and the rise of the EUR/USD pair first to the zone of 1.2200-1.2300, and then return to the January high of 1.2350. 65% of analysts agree with this scenario. But as for the weekly forecast, the picture is different. The majority (70%) of experts believe that the pair should retest the support in the 1.2020 zone in the near future and try to reach the February 05 low of 1.1955. This bearish development is supported by 15% of the oscillators on H4 and D1, which give signals that the pair is overbought.
The rest of the oscillators, as well as 75% of the trend indicators, are colored green. But graphical analysis on both time frames draws consolidation in the range 1.2020-1.2155. As for the events of the week, here the speeches of the head of the ECB Christine Lagarde on Monday 22 February and the head of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell in the US Congress on Wednesday 24 February are of interest, as well as annual data on GDP and the volume of orders for capital and durable goods in the United States to be published on Thursday 25 February;
It is clear that 100% of the trend indicators and 85% of oscillators on H4 and D1 point north. The remaining 15% of the oscillators give signals that the pair is overbought. The overwhelming majority of analysts (75%) are also awaiting a correction to the south. True, in their opinion, this may not happen in the coming week, but in the first half of March. Support levels are 1.3950, 1.3850, 1.3775, 1.3600. The potential for British currency growth has not yet been exhausted so far. And everything will depend on whose structural problems, the US or the UK, will put more pressure on their national currencies. This refers not only to quantitative easing and interest rates, but also the issue and yield of government securities, as well as the risk of high inflation due to excessively high budget spending.
We outlined in the first part of the review how the data from the US labor market affected the pair's behavior. Similar macro statistics on the UK labour market are expected to be released in the coming week, on Tuesday 23 February. And if it looks quite optimistic, you can expect the continuation of the uptrend of the GBP/USD pair. Other events include a speech by the British Prime Minister the day before. Although, most likely, Boris Johnson will do without much specifics, and will enthusiastically talk about the successes of his Cabinet in the fight against the pandemic, the record pace of vaccinations, and how relations with the EU are developing after Brexit;
104.40-105.40 is the zone that the pair has visited many times over the past 30 weeks. This allows us to speak of it as the Pivot Point of the medium-term sideways channel 102.60-107.00. By the way, the maximum trading range of 440 points on the semi-annual segment is actually not so great. In October, for example, the pair made 240-point throws in just one day. At the moment, only 35% of experts believe that the pair has not yet completed its movement to the upper border of this trading range. True, 75% of oscillators and 80% of trend indicators on D1 are on their side, which gives additional weight to this forecast. Resistance levels are 105.70, 106.20, the target is 107.00.
The opposite view is held by 65% of analysts, with the number rising to 80% when moving from a weekly to a monthly forecast. They have a similar number of indicators on their side, on H4 this time. Support levels are 105.00, 104.40, 103.60, the target is 102.60. Graphical analysis shows fluctuations of the pair in the trading range 104.40-106.20 with a predominance of bearish sentiment.
As bitcoin prices grow, there are fewer buyers in the market. The most cautious ones left back in December, when the coin reached its previous all-time high of $20,000. The next phase of closing long positions followed after bitcoin's rise to $40,000. Only the most die-hard investors and crypto fans have made it to the $50,000 level. Bitcoin is overbought. But after the price stepped over $55,000 on Friday evening February 19, there was no active sale. The market froze in anticipation. Alarming signals are already coming, though.
First, the share of sellers is growing, which has increased from 18% to 35% over the past two weeks. Second, about 2/3 of traders buy perpetual futures contracts using leverage, resulting in higher funding rates and commission costs while maintaining long positions. And third, the shares of miners went down. According to CoinDesk, weekly earnings of bitcoin miners reached a new high of $354 million from February 08 to 14. The previous record figure in seven days was $340 million and was recorded in December 2017. But despite this positive, for example, Riot Blockchain Inc shares lost 20% in price only on February 18.
However, according to a number of experts, it is not worth waiting for the onset of a new crypto winter. Though it may be a deep one, it is just a correction. Moreover, at small volumes there is a probability of growth of bitcoin up to $60,000-65,000 even by inertia. And there, a new wave of purchases can be triggered by FOMO - Lost Profit Syndrome (Fear Of Missing Out). After all, fear and greed are known to drive the market.
Lisa Edwards, sister of self-proclaimed bitcoin creator Craig Wright, has predicted that the first cryptocurrency would rise to $142,000. Based on Elliott Wave Theory, she suggested that digital gold would rise to $90,000 by May 2021, decline to $55,000 by January 2022, and skyrocketing to $142,000 in March 2023. After that, according to Edwards, the cryptocurrency market expects a bearish trend. But even though the growth of the BTC/USD pair may continue in the near future, you need to be very cautious about purchases at current levels. Most analysts consider them to be quite risky and suggest waiting for a rollback, and only then open new long positions.