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Asian Market Update – Thursday: Bitcoin on fire; Asian stocks mixed on increased risks

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Bitcoin on fire

The Big Question: Where will bitcoin end the year?

Bitcoin posted yet another extreme surge yesterday, with the gains continuing in early trading on Thursday. Bitcoin climbed from about $12,664 at midnight on Wednesday all the way to $14,376 at 8 AM in Hong Kong, reaching a fresh all-time high in a strong way and on high volume. At midday in Hong Kong, the price of bitcoin was up about 1 percent for the day to $14,280.

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With the $10,000 price target for bitcoin for the end of the year already put to shame, many are now wondering where the digital gold will close the year.

Ethereum surged back on Thursday morning after a relatively steep fall overnight. As of midday, the cryptocurrency was up 3.15 percent to $446. Though that’s still well below its all-time high, it makes for a solid comeback from the losses seen over the past few days.

Litecoin gained 2.04 percent to $102.05, after dropping below $100 and reaching a low of $98 early in the morning.

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Main Market Movers – Mid-day Asian Trading Session

Indexes Value at Midday Daily Change
Japan- Nikkei 225 22,457 1.27%
China-Shanghai Composite Index 3,277 -0.50%
Hong Kong –Hang Seng 28,259 0.12%
South Korea-KOSPI 2,463 -0.45%
Australia-ASX 200 5,980 0.58%
S&P 500 E-Mini Futures 2,637 0.12%

Major Asian equity markets moved higher on Thursday morning, with indexes in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney erasing some earlier losses and indexes in Shanghai and Seoul pointing lower as of midday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Index edged up 1.27 percent to 22,457 before midday on Thursday. The gain offset a big chunk of the 1.93 percent loss on Wednesday.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index turned positive on Thursday morning, gaining a slight 0.12 percent to 28,259 before midday. At market close on Wednesday, the Hang Seng was down 2.14 percent, marking its biggest single day drop so far this year.

Down under, the ASX 200 tacked on 0.58 percent to 5,980 at midday. The index also erased a 0.4 percent loss at the end of session on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 E-Mini Futures was up 0.12 percent to 2,637.

However, markets on the Chinese mainland and South Korea continue to stumble on Thursday morning.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.50 percent to 3,277.

In South Korea, the Kospi also lost 0.45 percent to 2,463 at midday.

Lower risk appetite among investors continue to weigh on indexes across Asia. Investors are looking at developments on the US, a potential shutdown of the US government if a budget can’t be passed soon, and tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

In addition, investors are also watching economic growth and corporate earnings at the end of the year.

Turmoil in the Middle East also intensified after US President Donald Trump announced a decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, and possibly move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The announcement prompted immediate backlash from both the Arab world and European leaders. Analysts say the move could result in further conflict in the already highly volatile region.

Currencies

The Japanese yen lost 0.14 percent against the US dollar at midday Thursday, changing hands at 112.44 per dollar.

The Chinese yuan was flat against the US dollar at 6.6138 per dollar.

The Australian dollar lost 0.14 percent on the dollar, changing hands at 1.3237 per dollar at midday.

Commodities

WTI Oil was up 0.3 percent to $56.12 per barrel.

Brent Crude gained 0.33 percent to $61.43 per barrel.

Gold was up 0.02 percent to $1,263 an ounce.

News across Asia

In China, an IMF report released on Wednesday said that China should focus more on financial stability rather than growth objectives, noting lack of coordination and inadequate systemic risk analysis. The PBoC on Thursday pushed back on the findings, saying that the IMF report does not paint a full picture of the conditions and claimed that China is able to fend off risks.

Take away: As the Chinese economy continue to slow down and financial risks are mounting, the Chinese government has been under heavy pressure to both boost growth and contain financial risks, a difficult balancing act in China.

In North Korea, a US-South Korea military drill that saw bombers fly over the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday has drawn strong criticism from the North. According to the North Korean foreign ministry, these actions by the US and South Korea make war “inevitable.”

Take away: Threats from the North are common, but the risk of a devastating war is still higher than ever on the Korean Peninsula.

Featured image from Pixabay.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term trading.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.3 stars on average, based on 32 rated postsFredrik 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.




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Market Overview

Finding a Golden Opportunity

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Hi Everyone,

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Yet another attack struck the cryptocurrency market recently, this one claiming around $18 million from the Bitcoin Gold network.

The innovation of blockchain is that transactions are secured by utilizing the power of the network. The second major fork of Bitcoin, known as Bitcoin Gold or (BTG), is not on the eToro platform at the moment, precisely because the network is simply not big enough at this time.

Both BTG and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) were created to give Bitcoin a larger block size, an idea that the Bitcoin Core community rejected. With all the thousands of cryptocurrencies out there, the question arises, how many bitcoin forks do we actually need?

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In this video from earlier this week, you can see the backers of Bitcoin Gold arguing with a well-known backer of BCH Craig Wright. The video ends with the BTG spokesperson saying to Craig “goodbye Fake-Toshi” a disapproving nickname that he received for previously claiming to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

Even though BTG seemed to come away with the upper hand in the video, it’s losing against BCH on the ground.

In the graph below, we can see the total mining power (hashrate) of all three Bitcoin tokens mentioned above (BTC, BCH, and BTG). As you can see, BTG is simply a flat line at the bottom, indicating that there are very few miners actually supporting the network.

The distinct lack of miners left the network vulnerable to attack and the hackers were easily able to add enough hashrate to write the blocks however they like.

It should be noted that even though BTC enjoys the most hashrate by far, BCH actually has marginally lower fees. This is why people keep saying that Bitcoin is moving to be more of a store of value.

So if payments is the question, we need to look at the top three contenders. In this case that would be Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Dash. As you can see, in the last few months, the competition has been getting tight, with all three coins charging less than 20 cents per transaction.

Ultimately, the natural way of the market is to push out the weakest contenders. For now, the payments market is dominated by Visa & MasterCard, who at the moment are charging vendors about 2.5% to 3% per transaction.

As the average credit card transaction is about $80, the average fee comes out to approximately $2.20, which is more than 5 times higher than Bitcoin itself.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

  • Trump Pulls Out
  • Happy GDPR Day
  • Vitalik is Tweeting again!

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of May 25th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

A big part of my job and the job of other financial bloggers is to try and gauge the impact of any given news event on actual market prices. When doing this, it’s important to always remember that correlation does not equal causation.

A perfect example would be this news that came out yesterday…

The purple circle on this chart shows the exact time that the news broke on Bloomberg.

As is clear from the chart, the market has been falling for several days, and though there was a spike down shortly after the announcement, it would be difficult to prove that the news caused the movement.

On the other hand, there was an event yesterday that I believe did have a direct and measurable impact on the markets. Here we can see Donald Trump’s letter to Kim Jong Un announcing that he was calling off their June 12th Singapore meeting.

For your convenience, I’ve pinpointed the exact time that the letter went viral on social media on this chart of gold.

Even though the price spiked before the announcement it does seem that this little event was able to give it the strength to push the market above the $1,300 psychological barrier.

The news also seems to have had an impact on the global stock indices as depicted here.

Final Fantasy

With all the news and simultaneous stories coming out right now, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which ones translate into investment opportunities.

For example, the Brexit saga in the UK right now doesn’t seem to have changed much for the Pound. Yes, the British Pound sold off against the US Dollar, but the USD is getting stronger across the board. If we look at the Pound’s strength against the Euro, we can see that little has changed in the last few months.

We are getting ever closer to the March 2019 Brexit though, so we hope things are sorted out pretty soon. In any case, we should get more clarity soon when the Brexit Bill is back in front of the UK Parliament.

New Spending Government

Over to Italy, where earlier this week we saw that the new Prime Minister has been confirmed by the President. So Italy should soon have a government. Even though it’s clear that the new parliament will try to increase spending in a country that has more than its fair share of debt, it seems that what’s happening in Italy is staying in Italy, at least as far as the global markets are concerned.

Roll-Back

Yesterday the Trump administration did a huge roll-back of the Dodd-Frank regulations, which were put in place by Obama to prevent another crisis similar to 2008.

The immediate impact will probably be that medium-sized banks will be free to take on more risk. Wheather this will end up increasing systemic risk of the entire system is currently being debated, but even if it does, that’s not something that would usually cause an immediate impact on the markets, that’s “future America’s” problem.

Happy GDPR Day!!

I’d like to wish you a very happy GDPR day!! Please enjoy the abundance of emails informing you that the privacy policy of just about every company that holds your personal data has been updated. Good luck reading through it all.

This is something that might impact the market over the next few weeks because it’s been reported that many companies are still not fully compliant. The market impact will largely depend on how EU officials choose to deal with these type of infractions.

TRY Time

The Turkish Lira has been almost as volatile as many of the major cryptocurrencies over the last month. So if you like high risk, feel free to day-trade it. Just please be cautious and use proper money management.

Increased Chatter (Vitalik is Tweeting)

For traditional markets, more chatter means a conference happening in Stockholm, which will include a panel with both Fed Chair Jerome Powel and the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney. This is about as good as it gets for central bank watchers and is not to be missed.

In crypto, it’s relevant to note the Ethereum community is having a lot more open dialogue lately on Twitter. As a decentralized platform, they’ve always been rather transparent about their conversations.

Vitalik likes to remain silent though for fear of having too much influence over the direction of the network. Over the last few months, he’s been especially hands-off and limiting himself to only retweets, presumably to emphasize a point made in the original tweet.

In the last few days however, it seems that he’s been engaging a lot more directly, especially with people contributing to the development of the Ethereum network. The community has been waiting for the famous Casper upgrade that will take Ether to a new level. Lately’ we’ve heard that the code for this upgrade has already been written and is currently in final review. Let’s hope for a smooth release.

Long Weekend

Really sorry for the long winded email. I hope that the information here will help you make better decisions in your portfolio, especially going into the long weekend.

For those of you in the UK and USA, I want to wish you a happy holiday in advance and to everyone a wonderful weekend!

For anyone who got through the entire post. Feel free to tag me, you probably deserve some sort of prize. 🙂

This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.

The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework.

Best regards,
Mati Greenspan
Senior Market Analyst

 

eToro: @MatiGreenspan | Twitter: @MatiGreenspan | LinkedIn: MatiGreenspan

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 88 rated postsSenior Market Analyst at Etoro.com.




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Market Overview

Market Update: Geopolitical Tensions Trigger Rush to Safe Havens as Gold Spikes to 10-Day High

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Investors were on high alert Thursday after President Trump called off a planned summit with North Korea next month, The subsequent haven rush sent gold prices to ten-day highs and the yen to its best levels in almost two weeks.

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Gold Spikes

Gold prices jumped more than 1% as demand for riskier assets faded in the wake of geopolitical unrest between the United States and North Korea. August bullion prices gained 1.2% to trade near $1,310 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Silver prices surged 28 cents, or 1.7%, to $16.69 a troy ounce.

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Thursday gains helped gold recoup from a massive slide earlier in the month as traders began pricing a fourth interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve this year. The U.S. dollar surged to five month highs, reducing gold’s investment appeal in the eyes of international traders.

Bullion has spent the better part of 2018 valued above $1,300, though the bulls have been unable to make a definitive break above $1,350.

Yen Strengthens Across the Board

Asia’s favorite haven currency rose across the board on Thursday, as carnage in emerging markets added to geopolitical uncertainty.

The yen rose more than half a percent against the dollar, sending USD/JPY to a session low of 109.00. The pair traded as high as 111.37 earlier in the week.

The yen has benefited from a sharp selloff in emerging market currencies, with the Turkish lira and Argentinian peso among the hardest hit. These countries are heavily influenced by the U.S. dollar because the bulk of their foreign funding is denominated in the greenback.

Despite its recent pullback, the dollar is up 3.3% over the past month.

Crypto Woes Continue

The cryptocurrency market touched fresh six-week lows Thursday, as the combination of regulatory risks and South Korean exchange uncertainty weighed on prices.

Crypto assets have lost a combined $50 billion in value since Sunday, with the total market cap bottoming near $320 billion earlier in the day. At the time of writing, the total market was worth $338 billion, according to data provided by CoinMarketCap.

All major altcoins were up compared with 24 hours ago, with EOS leading the rally. The digital currency was up more than 10% by late afternoon EST to trade at $1219.

Ripple XRP rose more than 4% to $0.635. Bitcoin cash rebounded more than 3% to $1,058.

Bitcoin traded relatively flat after hitting fresh lows. It was last valued at $7,585.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 413 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Analysis

Stocks Suffer Hit as Trump Cancels Summit, Turkey Hikes Rate

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After yesterday’s late-day bounce, stocks got close to their two-week lows yet again today in early trading, as risk assets got sold across the board after Donald Trump canceled the much-awaited summit with North Korea’s Kim Dong Un. Safe haven assets spiked higher on the news, with gold getting back above $1300, and the Japanese Yen also gaining significant ground on its peers.

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NASDAQ 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

US equities are still not in a terrible short-term position, as the key support levels are holding up, and the trading range is intact, but most European indices gave back all of this month’ s gains, and the cracks on the synchronized global growth narrative are clear.

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Emerging markets are still under pressure, even as the Turkish central bank finally did what we have been expecting, raising its benchmark rate by 3% after an emergency meeting yesterday, but for now, it seems that the this might have been too little too late.

USD/TRY (Turkish Lira), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The Lira recovered more than 8% off its intraday lows, but today the currency has been plunging again, and it is still dangerously close to its all-time low, and a run on the Lira is still not out of the question. Mr. Erdogan told the Turkish citizens not to exchange their Lira to foreign currency, but the President might need more than “verbal capital controls” to stop the collapse.

Dovish Fed Minutes Cause Slight Dollar Pullback

Dollar Index, Daily Chart Analysis

The US Dollar is lower compared to the Euro, the Pound, and the Yen today, even as the Greenback gained ground against the Canadian Dollar. While the Yen’s advance is due to the risk-off sentiment, the Dollar’s broad pullback started after the release of the FOMC meeting minutes yesterday, as the central bank expressed that it would allow inflation to overshoot the 2% target temporarily.

US 2-Year Yield, Daily Chart Analysis

This caused a drop in Treasury yields across the yield curve, as investors removed their rate hike bets. The 2-year yield briefly hit a level not seen since mid-April, while the 10-year yield got back to the key 3% level. The European Central Bank also released its minutes today, and the bank also cited downside economic risk, capping the dip in the Dollar and helping the pullback in yields.

Featured image from Shutterstock            

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 256 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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