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Bitcoin at 10-month high, TRY under pressure
Bitcoin rose to a 10-month high
Investors almost forgot about crypto-currencies as the crypto-winter kept prices low. At the end of the month of March, Bitcoin price were stalling below the $4,000 threshold as the outlook for this emerging asset class remained clouded. However, over the first half of May, the price of Bitcoin more doubled as it reached $8,330 on Tuesday morning. Over the same period, the market capitalisation of the most famous cryptocurrency increased by $73 billion to $146 billion. Similarly, the surge gave a boost to the entire market as the aggregate market capitalisation of the entire market (around 2170 digital assets) jumped $146bn to $243bn, up 66% in roughly two weeks.
Many theories have been put forward to explain why demand for cryptocurrencies has increased steadily over the last few months. Indeed, the total market capitalisation printed a low at $100bn on December 15th last year. Since then it has moved only one way: up. Technical analysis is often put forward to explain crypto markets, while fundamental analysis is often overlooked. Recently, it looks like Bitcoin behaved like a safe-haven assets against the backdrop of worsening risk sentiment, thanks to heightened US-China trade tensions and escalating confrontation between Iran and the US over the former’s nuclear program. However, we believe that despite the fact that cryptos have remained in the shadow lately, the global environment as kept improving: regulators and legislators had time to determine how cryptos should be regulated, more and more retailers adopted them as mean of payment (Amazon, Microsoft, Whole Food, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s, and many more) and institutional money kept flowing slowing into cryptos.
Crypto prices have rose massively lately and in a short period of time. Even though, we remain bullish on Bitcoin, and cryptos in general, we doubt that the current pace of increase is sustainable. Therefore, that would not be a surprise to us should the market experiences a sharp correction in the coming days. For now, Bitcoin is stuck below the $8,480 resistance (high from July 25th 2018).
TRY under renewed pressures amid trade war, election re-run
Things have not taken the turn expected by investors. The rise of US trade duties on Chinese products pushed Chinese authorities to take a similar step and impose additional tariffs ranging from 5% to 25% on a total of $60 billion-worth US products such as natural gas, vegetables or cosmetics. Consequently, risk aversion rises, thus increasing demand for safe-haven currencies (CHF, JPY) at the expense of AUD, NZD, SEK, NOK or EM currencies such as the Turkish lira. Yet risks of an open trade war between both nations remains very unlikely, as the long-awaited Trump-Xi meeting is supposed to take place during the 28-29 June 2019 G20 meeting in Osaka. There is therefore more to be expected from both sides in the coming weeks when it comes to negotiations.
The recent developments have maintained the Turkish lira under heavy pressures, despite the Central Bank of Turkey (CBT) attempt to close the gap in Turkish lira by suspending funding of its 1-week repo rate (24%), and so forcing financial institutions to finance at a higher overnight rate (25.50%). Furthermore, a re-run of mayoral elections in the capital is not helping. The release of current account balance, although presenting a narrower trade deficit gap ($-0.59 billion), does not provide much of a sign of optimism as both exports and imports are in a downtrend, suggesting a lower growth outlook. Accordingly, we can expect the CBT to maintain more stimulus in this backdrop, which should prompt further lira weakness.
Currently trading at 6.0658, USD/TRY is head along 6.1295 short-term.