Asian Market Update – Monday: Bitcoin Steady Following New All-Time High on Sunday

Bitcoin profits

The Big Question: What’s driving the recent bitcoin rally?

Bitcoin on Sunday reached yet another milestone, trading above $6,000 again for the second time, and marking a new all-time high of $6,345, as reported by CryptoCoinsNews.com on Monday. Bitcoin crushed its previous all-time high of $6,183 after just eight days of trading.

The new all-time high in bitcoin has again pushed the total bitcoin market capitalization above the $100 billion threshold.

Although it is still unclear what exactly led to the most recent run-up, most analysts agree that it is likely due to increased mainstream media attention and ever-growing interest from the general public.

Bitcoin’s younger sibling litecoin is also trading steadily following bitcoin’s bull-run. As of midday in Asia, litecoin was trading at $56.62, up 0.05 percent for the day.

Ethereum also posted a small gain for the day, tacking on 1.35 percent to $307 in the early hours of the Asian trading session Monday.

Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan- Nikkei 225 21,992 -0.07%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,393 -0.68%
South Korea-KOSPI 2,501 0.18%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng 28,467 0.12%
Australia-ASX 200 5,919 0.27%

Stocks

Major stock indexes in Asia were in a mixed mode on Monday morning, with China and Japan slightly down and Korea, Hong Kong and Australia slightly up.

Analysts believe that the continuation of easy monetary policy in the EU and Japan, combined with strong corporate earnings, will continue to propel stock prices globally to higher levels.

Tech shares in South Korea and Taiwan were also propelled higher in the Asian trading session Monday, after Apple reportedly said pre-orders for the iPhone X were “off the charts,” according to a Reuters report.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost a slight 0.07 percent to 21,992 after midday in Tokyo trading.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index also lost 0.68 percent to 3,393, while shares in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 0.12 percent to 28,467.

South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.18 percent after midday, trading just above the 2,500 mark.

Down under, the ASX 200 Index gained 0.27 percent on Monday, trading at 5.919 at the end of the trading day in Australia.

Currencies

The Japanese yen on Monday gained 0.08 percent against the US dollar, trading at 113.6 per dollar.

The Chinese yuan gained a slight 0.07 percent against the US dollar, to 6.6444 per dollar.

The Australian dollar was nearly unchanged during Australian trading on Monday, edging up a slight 0.03 percent on the dollar, to change hands at 1.3027 per dollar.

The euro also edged up slightly on the dollar in Asian trading on Monday, trading up by 0.11 percent. The small gain comes after sharp losses for the euro on Thursday and Friday following unrest in Spain’s Catalonia region as well as continued easy monetary policy from the European Central Bank. It is unclear what impact the Catalonia situation will have on the euro, but several analysts believe that the worries are “overblown” and that this should not be seen as a near-term risk for the euro.

Commodities

WTI Oil was down 0.39 percent to $53.90 per barrel on Monday morning, after strong gains in the price of oil on Friday, when WTI oil broke through its previous swing high from September.

Brent Crude made a similar move before the weekend, while consolidating down by 0.36 percent to $60.36 per barrel Monday morning.

Gold on Monday morning lost 0.27 percent to $1,270 an ounce.

Business News across Asia

In China, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is again visiting Beijing, meeting with students at the prestigious Tsinghua University. Analysts are now speculating that Facebook could be getting closer to finally opening their service for Mainland Chinese users. According to one analyst, there is “a realistic opportunity” for Facebook to be allowed to enter the Chinese market in 2018. Facebook has been blocked in China for many years already, and most recently Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp was also blocked for users on the Mainland.

Take-away: It is generally believed that the Chinese leadership will be willing to open up more and loosen up on media censorship now that President Xi is in his second term. Only time will tell if this is indeed the case, but 2018 may prove to become a golden year for Facebook.

Featured image from Pixabay.

Author:
Fredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.