Cryptocurrencies, blockchain, NFT and new trends

Bitcoin spikes on ‘soft-ish’ US inflation data before coming back down to Earth

Markets • April 12, 2023, 10:24AM EDT | Illlustration by Zoe Ellyse Del Rosario for The Block

Quick Take

  • Bitcoin briefly traded about $30,400 following the release of U.S. inflation data for March, which came in below consensus estimates. 
  • Headline inflation in the U.S. was up 5% annually and 0.1% month-on-month, below estimates of 5.1% and 0.2%, respectively. 
  • Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, came in at 5.6% and 0.4%, in line with estimates. 

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Bitcoin soared on the initial release of U.S. inflation data for March, but the price has since cooled off. 

The leading cryptocurrency by market cap was trading at $30,126 by 10:18 a.m. EDT, up about 0.3% since the inflation release, according to Binance data via TradingView. Bitcoin traded around $30,450 just minutes after the release — which SoFi’s Liz Young, head of investment strategy, called “soft-ish.”

Stock futures pumped shortly after the release, while U.S. stock indices were slightly more subdued after the open, although still in the green. The S&P 500 is up 0.37%, while the Nasdaq gained 0.07%.

The market’s initial reaction to the inflation data might be ill-conceived, according to some analysts. Michael Brown, a market analyst at TraderX, said it might be folly to ignore the re-acceleration in core inflation back up to 5.6% year-on-year. The rise in core inflation is a sign of price pressures getting embedded and growing stickier, he added. 

The Fed may well end hikes after May, Brown added, but any chance of cuts is unlikely given the central bank’s reluctance to let genie out of the bottle a second time, he concluded.

Michael Hewson, the chief market analyst at CMC markets, echoed this. “Markets drawing the wrong conclusions from today’s numbers, methinks, he said in response to Brown’s tweet.  

Fed Funds futures pricing now shows a 67% probability of a 25 basis point increase at next month’s meeting, down from 73% this morning. The probability of a cut by July is 47%, according to CME’s FedWatch.