Bitcoin (BTC) saw ongoing rejection below $22,000 into Feb. 14 as markets braced for macroeconomic data impact.
Bitcoin vs. CPI: “Expect volatility”
Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD failing to expand beyond $21,800 ahead of the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) print for January.
Already called the “most important” CPI release, the data, due at 8:30 am Eastern Time, is a classic volatility catalyst for risk assets.
Crypto market participants thus expected a busy trading day, with both $19,000 and $25,000 on the table as potential targets depending on how far the results stay from estimates.
“Will probably see that $24-25k Bitcoin pump if tomorrow morning’s CPI number shows more disinflation in the positive direction,” Venturefounder, a contributor at on-chain analytics platform CryptoQuant, wrote in part of a Twitter update.
“Conversely negative surprise would set up a perfect retest to $19-20k BTC A very important day. Expect volatility.”
Year-on-year CPI was expected at 6.2% versus 6.4% the month prior, with the month-on-month reading due an uptick to 0.5% from 0.1%.
“Relatively high expectations if you combine this with the previous trend,” Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe, founder and CEO of trading firm Eight, argued on the day.
Van de Poppe was already betting on the “end stage” of Bitcoin’s current retracement, with $20,500 as the key level for bulls to hold.
CPI “crucial” to determine crypto losses
In its latest market update, trading firm QCP Capital flagged factors beyond the data as cause for concern for crypto investors.
Related: Bitcoin flirts with bid liquidity as BTC price nears new 3-week lows
The recent legal proceedings against Blockchain firm Paxos, which issues the Binance (BUSD) stablecoin, could be the tip of the iceberg regarding U.S. regulatory policy, it warned.
“As the regulatory hammer is still out against the industry (possibly until the 2024 election), the upside on crypto’s market cap looks even more subdued from that perspective now,” it wrote.
“Hence, today’s CPI print is crucially important to decide the extent of downside for crypto.”
QCP continued that there was a mismatch between expectations and reality regarding the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates, despite inflation notionally subsiding.
“In the rates market, we are now pricing a 5.2% terminal rate followed by a 30bp cut by December 23, a monumental step-up from the 4.9% terminal and 50bp cut just 2 weeks ago,” the report highlighted.
“Risk assets have clearly not adjusted to this increase in rate expectations, and we expect today’s print to bring all markets in line – whether it is an outsized equities sell-off (on a number higher than expected) or a rates rally (on a number lower than expected).”
The Fed is not due to convene a rate change meeting until the third week of March, with another CPI print due before then.
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