After the Bitcoin made a massive rally of over 20% in the wake of the banking crisis in the United States, all eyes were on the new inflation data in the US today. The release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for February came from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at 8:30 EST. And these are the numbers:
The annual inflation rate was 6.4% in January and was estimated at 6.0% for February. The February Consumer Price Index released today showed inflation at 6.0%, in line with expectations. Annual core inflation was forecasted at 5.5%, down from 5.6% in January. Today’s release was 5.5%.
On a monthly basis, the U.S. consumer price index was 0.4% in February. The forecast was for 0.4%, down from 0.5% last time. Core inflation on a monthly basis shows a similar picture. It was reported today at 0.5% for February, with both the forecast for February and actual for January standing at 0.4%.
Thus, the inflation data comes out almost exactly as expected, only the core inflation MoM is slightly higher than expected.
CPI: 6.0% – Forecast 6.0%
Core CPI: 5.5% – Forecast 5.5%
Which means, entirely as expected.
— Michaël van de Poppe (@CryptoMichNL) March 14, 2023
What Does This Mean For Bitcoin And Crypto?
The latest inflation data from the US is bullish, as it could give the Fed room to pause rates or even cut them. And the Bitcoin price immediately reacted accordingly. At press time, BTC broke through the extremely important resistance at $25,200 and hit $26,278 on Binance at one point.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Dollar Index (DXY) went into a downward spiral after the recent mixed US jobs report and the biggest banking crisis since the great financial crisis in 2008. Due to the banking system’s intrinsic problem with the U.S. government bonds and the new “Bank Term Funding Program” of the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed), the dovish expectations have risen massively.
By means of the new program, the Fed is rescuing all banks. They can pledge their currently loss-making bonds (but also MBS) to the Fed at the purchase price at the time instead of the current market value and receive cash in return. For many market participants, this means that the Fed has once again turned on the money printer while the DXY is poised for further downside.
Ultimately, the Fed may has no other choice than back-paddling on their interest rate hikes to avoid eroding confidence in the US banking system. The new inflation figures should give the Fed more leeway to point to a deflationary environment and lower the rate hike pace or even pause in the midst of the banking crisis without losing its credibility.
For Bitcoin and crypto, the CPI print couldn’t have been much better. There is only one downside, which the market seems to be ignoring at the moment. Liz Young, head of investment strategy at SoFi writes:
Feb headline CPI in-line at 0.4% (m/m) & 6.0% (y/y), core a bit higher at 0.5% m/m vs 0.4% est. Somewhat worrying trend is that core services ex-housing (aka “supercore”) continued to move up m/m. That’s what the Fed is watching, futures say a 25bp hike has a 76% chance.
At press time, the Bitcoin price smashed through the key resistance at $25,200 and stood at $26,219.