Hours after the United States bureau of labor statistics (BLS) released the latest consumer price index (CPI) data for March 2023, bitcoin (BTC) prices remain subdued and tethered around the $30,000 mark.
Inflation dropping in the United States
According to the BLS, the CPI reading for March stood at 0.1%, down from 0.4% recorded in February but lower than what economists forecasted at 0.2%. Meanwhile, year-to-date inflation stood at 4.98%, down by 1% from February, when it was 6.04%. Still, this was below the 5.3% level economists had predicted.
Notably, the general inflation trend in the United States is decreasing, falling from 8.54% recorded in March 2022. Inflation peaked at 9% in June 2022 before gradually tapering in subsequent months as the Federal Reserve (Fed) tightened.
Inflation is an important metric that the Fed closely monitors. It is a factor that the bank, tasked with setting the monetary policy in the United States, considers when determining the fund rates. Since the Fed is responsible for fostering its citizens’ economic and social welfare, interest rates are changed occasionally, with inflation being considered.
For instance, months after a loose monetary policy that saw the central bank slash interest rates to record rates to stimulate the economy and cushion citizens from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the better part of 2020, Jerome Powell, the chairperson of the Fed, began raising rates last year to tame rising inflation.
As of March 22, 2023, the Fed increased rates by 25 basis points to within the 4.75% to 5% range. Though the Fed claims interest rate decisions are data-driven, the move came at the back of falling inflation.
Bitcoin prices at a 10-month high
Bitcoin prices remain unchanged and down from the psychological $30,000 when writing on April 12.
Although bitcoin, according to proponents, is a store-of-value asset in times of rising inflation and economic turbulence, the asset has been under significant pressure since last year when inflation was at record levels. With falling inflation, BTC prices appear solid, recently closing above $30,000 and trending at the highest level in the last ten months.
Analysts expect the Fed to stop raising rates in the months ahead due to the fragile nature of United States banks. With rising rates and dropping bond yields, some banks have been pushed to the corner.
In March, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a crypto-friendly bank, experienced a bank run after failing to secure funding. There were concerns about SVB’s exposure to government bonds. Days later, BTC prices began soaring as the investment community feared the worst amid the Fed’s tightening.