Bitcoin registers modest gains as equities tick lower to close the quarter: this week in markets

Quick Take

  • Bitcoin was trading at $19,299 today, while ether was changing hands for $1,300.
  • Traditional markets were in tumult this week, with U.S. stock indices closing the week and the quarter down.

Cryptocurrency was somewhat of an oasis of calm last week, while traditional markets were volatile. 

Bitcoin was up about 1% over the past week at $19,229, while ether lost a little more than 1% and was trading at $1,300 at the time of writing, according to Coinbase data.

The global crypto market cap remains at less than $1 trillion, although trading in cryptocurrencies was not so volatile as stocks and bonds. Correlation between stocks and bitcoin declined throughout the week, with the Nasdaq correlation down to 0.77, while the S&P 500 fell to 0.75 according to The Block's data dashboard. 

Fiat crisis sets the tone 

The pound sterling hit an all-time low of $1.0327 against the U.S. dollar on Monday as markets reacted to the U.K. government's mini-budget.

"New Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-slashing, deficit-ballooning Budget — let’s call a spade a spade — was met with a mixture of surprise, incredulity, and downright bafflement by financial markets, particularly as the full extent of extra borrowing required to fund the largest tax cuts in 50 years became clear,"  Michael Brown, head of market intelligence at Caxton's, wrote on Monday. 

Going forward, the macroeconomic outlook remains challenging, UBS's head of FX strategy James Malcolm told The Block on Friday."Implied volatilities have already repriced much higher, so the thing you have to make a call on is whether they can keep rising near-term," he said.

Monday's meltdown set the tone for the week as traditional markets remained highly volatile throughout, U.K. government bonds — known as gilts — were also tested as yields rose and the Bank of England stepped in to buy bonds with a remaining maturity of 20 years or more. 

Stocks ticked lower to close the month and the quarter in the red, with UBS noting that bitcoin shrugged off its typical beta of 3x to major U.S. stock indices that dropped twice as much during September, 

The most worrying development in traditional finance came toward the end of the week as rumors began to circulate over the health of Credit Suisse. The bank's CEO Ulrich Koerner wrote multiple memos to staff last week amid the turmoil, noting that the bank was at a “critical moment." 

The Swiss bank is part of the Global Systemically Important Banks (GSIB), which is maintained by the Basel Committee, the primary global standard setter for bank regulation. Failure of a GSIB might trigger further financial crisis, and as such the health of Credit Suisse should be monitored going forward for its potential macroeconomic impact.

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