Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Bitcoin and crypto brace for further upside as equities look to extend their recent gains


The long-awaited recession and ensuing resumption of the 2022 bear market that many have been anticipating have did not materialize thus far in 2023. The truth is, most property have caught a bid, with the Nasdaq hitting a 52-week excessive on July 12.

How can this be, and can the rally proceed?

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Michael Burry of The Massive Quick fame declared in January that the US could possibly be in recession by late 2023, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) lower and the Federal Reserve slicing charges (notice that final week’s CPI print got here in a lot decrease than anticipated, additional fueling the latest rally). This might result in one other inflation spike, in his view.

Lately, unbiased macro and crypto analyst Lyn Alden explored the subject in a e-newsletter revealed this month.

Within the report, Alden examines right this moment’s inflationary surroundings by contrasting it to 2 comparable however totally different intervals: the Forties and the Nineteen Seventies. From this, she concludes that the U.S. economic system will doubtless stall or expertise a light recession whereas experiencing some degree of persistent inflation. This might imply that markets proceed trending upward till an official recession hits.

The Fed’s inflation struggle continues

The vital distinction between the 2 intervals entails speedy financial institution lending and huge monetized fiscal deficits, which Alden suggests are the underlying components driving inflation. The previous occurred within the Nineteen Seventies as child boomers started shopping for homes, whereas the latter occurred throughout World Battle II because of funding the conflict effort.

The 2020s are extra just like the Forties than the Nineteen Seventies, but the Fed is working the Nineteen Seventies financial coverage playbook. This might change into fairly counterproductive. As Alden explains:

“In order the Federal Reserve raises charges, federal curiosity expense will increase, and the federal deficit widens paradoxically at a time when deficits had been the first reason for inflation within the first place. It dangers being akin to making an attempt to place out a kitchen grease hearth with water, which makes intuitive sense however doesn’t work as anticipated.”

In different phrases, right this moment’s inflation has been primarily pushed by the creation of recent federal debt, or what some could name authorities cash printing.

Elevating rates of interest to calm inflation can work, however it’s meant for inflation that has its roots in an enlargement of credit score tied to banking loans. Whereas greater charges tame such inflation by making borrowing dearer and thus decreasing mortgage creation within the non-public sector, they make fiscal deficits worse by rising the quantity of curiosity owed on these money owed. The federal debt right this moment is over 100% of gross home product (GDP), in comparison with simply 30% within the Nineteen Seventies.

Federal authorities curiosity fee expenditures versus federal funds efficient fee. Supply: FRED

Whereas the Federal Reserve has cooled some elements of the economic system by elevating charges by 500 foundation factors in little greater than a 12 months, the underlying trigger of the present inflationary surroundings stays unaddressed. And with a a lot greater debt-to-GDP ratio than the U.S. had 50 years in the past, the state of affairs will solely worsen at a sooner tempo. However markets have remained resilient, together with tech equities and crypto, though the correlation between the 2 has damaged.

On this means, the Fed could also be utilizing a software unfit for the state of affairs, however this hasn’t stopped markets, at the least for now.

Massive Tech defies recession estimates and propels equities

Regardless of the Fed’s battle with inflation and market contributors’ expectation of an unavoidable recession, the primary half of 2023 has been fairly bullish for equities, with the rally extending into July. Whereas bonds have offered off once more, elevating yields to close 2022 highs, threat property like tech shares have been hovering.

It’s vital to notice that this rally has primarily been led by simply seven shares, together with names like Nvidia, Apple, Amazon and Google. These equities make up a disproportionate weight of the Nasdaq:

Associated: Bitcoin mining stocks outperform BTC in 2023, but on-chain data points to a potential stall

Bonds down, crypto and tech up

The rally in tech due largely to synthetic intelligence-driven hype and a handful of mega-cap shares has additionally caught a tailwind from an easing in bond market liquidity.

Alden notes how this started late final 12 months:

“However then some issues started to vary in the beginning of This fall 2022. The U.S. Treasury started dumping liquidity again into the market and offsetting the Fed’s quantitative tightening, and the greenback index declined. The S&P 500 discovered a backside and started stabilizing. The liquidity in sovereign bond markets started easing. Varied liquidity-driven property like bitcoin turned again up.”

A July 11 report from Pantera Capital makes comparable observations, noting that actual rates of interest even have a really totally different story to inform when in comparison with the Nineteen Seventies.

“The normal markets could battle — and blockchain may be a protected haven,” partially as a result of “[t]he Fed must proceed to lift charges,” on condition that actual charges stay at damaging 0.35%, in response to the report. The report additionally concludes from this, “There’s nonetheless tons of threat in bonds.”

The report goes on to notice that whereas most different asset courses are delicate to rates of interest, crypto just isn’t. Bitcoin’s correlation to equities throughout 2022 was pushed by the collapse of “over-leveraged centralized entities.” Right now, that correlation has reached near-zero ranges:

Bitcoin correlation with S&P 500. Supply: Pantera Capital

Among the many key takeaways could also be that threat property seem to have a bid below them in the interim. Nonetheless, this pattern may simply reverse by year-end.

Dan Morehead of Pantera Capital mentioned it effectively when stating that:

“Having traded 35 years of market cycles, I’ve discovered there’s simply so lengthy markets may be down. Solely a lot ache buyers can take. […] It’s been a full 12 months since TerraLUNA/SBF/and so on. It’s been sufficient time. We can rally now.”

Bitcoin value pattern and year-over-year returns. Supply: Pantera Capital

With the halving proper across the nook and the prospect of a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund on the horizon, the catalysts for crypto appear poised for a breakout in virtually any state of affairs.