Bitcoin Reacts to Biden Picking Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve Chair For A 2nd Term

Bitcoin is currently hovering around $56k and Ether above $4,000 while funding rates normalize, indicating euphoria not high in the market.

Bitcoin jumped 5.3% to nearly $59,550 as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell got nominated for a second term. The nomination next heads to the Senate for confirmation.

Powell guided the US central bank and the nation’s economy through the Covid-19 pandemic by implementing unprecedented monetary stimulus.

President Joe Biden announced Monday following speculation that Governor Lael Brainard might get the spot who will instead be a vice-chair of the board of governors. Biden said in a statement,

“As I’ve said before, we can’t just return to where we were before the pandemic, we need to build our economy back better, and I’m confident that Chair Powell and Dr. Brainard’s focus on keeping inflation low, prices stable, and delivering full employment will make our economy stronger than ever before.”

Biden also praised the Fed for its “decisive” actions in the early days of the pandemic, which included $120 million monthly bond purchases, cutting interest rates to near zero, and an array of lending programs.

Now markets are watching closely the pace the Fed will unwind its massive policy support as officials have already said they will start tapering bond purchases that could conclude in late spring or early summer 2022 in response to rising inflation. Interest rate hikes would come after that.

According to Morgan Stanley economists, the Fed will wait until 1Q23 to make its first interest rate hike despite their projection that US unemployment will fall to 3.6% by the end-2022.

Falling core PCE inflation and rising labor force participation are two drivers for no hikes in 2022, as per the bank’s economists. According to them, central banks may ultimately prove dovish, which may not be immediately apparent, “an uncertain dynamic that could push yields and USD higher.”

Dovish and Fed is positive for Bitcoin, and so is lower yields as negative real yields (inflation-adjusted) present a challenge for long-term asset allocators which may look to diversify into riskier assets as we saw with Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund becoming the first U.S. public pension plan to invest directly in Bitcoin and Ether.

As of writing, Bitcoin is hovering around $56k and Ether above $4,000. However, the latest weakness in price action for the past couple of weeks has people losing confidence in the continuation of the bull market.

“I’m not short or saying mkt implode imminent, might short on derivs if time feels right, but atm feeling pretty neutral short term,” said trader CL. “This mkt is pretty fkn frothed up.”

Meanwhile, the Crypto Fear and Greed Index is currently in the neutral, giving a ‘50’ reading while last week it was at 72, indicating ‘greed.’

After last week’s drawdown, funding rates have also normalized, with the highest currently on Bybit at 0.0244% and in negative on FTX and OKEx.

“In crypto, euphoria can be appreciated in the funding rates. This is somewhat similar to credit spreads in traditional finance. If funding is not very high, there is no unsustainable euphoria,” noted trader and economist Alex Kruger.

Funding of perpetual contracts is currently at 0.01% while futures quarterly basis at 12.5%, but for these numbers to be concerned, they need to be greater than 0.05% and 18%, respectively, which hit 0.1% and 40% during April and May, Kruger said

“Can crypto still crash? Yes, most definitively. The Fed is in the process of getting hawkish and winter inflation prints can spook the market into thinking the Fed & the ECB may over react. But euphoria is most definitively not that high nor widespread.”

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