Bitcoin extended Tuesday’s decline even as gold, a traditional inflation hedge, remained resilient to increased bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will tighten its monetary policy sooner than previously expected. The leading cryptocurrency was trading near $32,300 at press time, a 1.4% drop on the day. Prices hit a 2 1/2-week low of $31,669 early today, having run into offers above $33,000 on Tuesday, CoinDesk 20 data show.
The drop to the lowest level since June 26 comes a day after futures tied to the federal funds rate and eurodollars, which track short-term interest-rate expectations, raised bets on Tuesday that the Fed would increase interest rates between December 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. According to Reuters, the repricing happened after the U.S. Labor Department said the consumer price index increased 5.4% year-over-year in June, the fastest pace since 2008.Rate hikes, or possible tapering as signaled by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, boost the attractiveness of holding fiat currencies, in this case the dollar, and dilute the appeal of perceived store-of-value assets such as bitcoin and gold.
However, while bitcoin is nursing losses, gold is trading 0.35% higher on the day at $1,814 an ounce. The discrepancy spurred Amber Group, a crypto services provider, to call for caution in reading too much into the rate-hike narrative for the time being. However, while bitcoin has come under pressure this week, it is still locked in the broad two-month range of $30,000 to $40,000. “It’s hard to read too much into the price action currently while we’re still stuck in this range,” Amber Group said.