Bitcoin traders eye Fed’s Powell as FOMC hikes rates to 22-year highs

Bitcoin (BTC) shifted toward $30,000 on July 26 as the United States Federal Reserve delivered a fresh interest rate hike.

<em>BTC/USD 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView</em>

Bitcoin tames volatility ahead of Powell press conference

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC price performance strengthening after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) took rates 0.25% higher.

While still fairly quiet, the largest cryptocurrency was still to react to a press conference from Fed Chair Jerome Powell due at 2.30pm Eastern time.

This is traditionally the main cue for risk asset volatility, with markets closely watching Powell’s language for signs of future policy changes.

“25 BPS is baked in so any deviation from that should yield a logical reaction, but #FED Chair #JPow goes out of his way to telegraph intentions and avoid surprises so don’t expect any change from the forecast,” monitoring resource Material Indicators wrote in a Twitter post before the announcement.

“All market participants will listen to the subtle nuances of what is typically a carefully crafted, post announcement statement and those words will move markets.”

Confirmation of a hike of 25 basis points still brought benchmark interest rates to their highest since 2001.

In an accompanying press release, the FOMC further hinted that should its roadmap toward 2% inflation become hindered, it would be prepared to take additional measures.

“The Committee seeks to achieve maximum employment and inflation at the rate of 2 percent over the longer run. In support of these goals, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 5-1/4 to 5-1/2 percent,” it stated.

“The Committee will continue to assess additional information and its implications for monetary policy. In determining the extent of additional policy firming that may be appropriate to return inflation to 2 percent over time, the Committee will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments.”

<em>Fed funds rate chart. Source: Federal Reserve</em>

Suspicions over “unanimous” FOMC

The move, while bringing rates to 22-year highs, was nonetheless overwhelmingly priced in across markets, with almost 99% odds that it would go ahead.

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A look at CME Group’s FedWatch Tool meanwhile showed less certainty that the next FOMC meeting in September would yield a repeat.

<em>Fed target rate probabilities chart. Source: CME Group</em>

Discussing the implications, financial commentary resource The Kobeissi Letter noted that while every FOMC member had voted for the latest hike, this may not speak to harmony over policy at the Fed.

In a social media reaction, it argued that “between every meeting all Fed officials publicly disagree with each other.”

“Is the Fed really as united as they make it seem?” it queried.

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