Bitcoin logs monthly loss, Ether drops, U.S. equities slide

Bitcoin fell to near US$27,000 in Thursday morning trading in Asia and posted the first monthly loss of the year. Ether and all the top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies also traded lower, with Litecoin leading the losers. U.S. equities slid on concerns the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates again in June after strong job numbers for April released Wednesday showed inflation is still prevalent. Investors were also jittery ahead of the outcome of the vote by the U.S. Congress to approve the debt ceiling deal.

Bitcoin, Ether slide

Bitcoin fell 2.05% over the last 24 hours to US$27,177 at 07:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, but held a weekly gain of 3.17%, according to data from CoinMarketCap. The world’s largest cryptocurrency ended May with a loss of 7.50%, the first monthly decline since the start of the year.

The token met selling pressure after Federal Reserve official Loretta Mester said on Wednesday there was no “compelling reason to pause” interest rate hikes in June, according to Mikkel Morch, Chairman and Non-Executive Director at investment fund ARK36, in a note shared with Forkast.

“(The remarks from Mester) have had a disruptive impact on various risk assets, including cryptocurrencies,” said Morch. “Simultaneously, the release of discouraging manufacturing data from China has added to the bearish sentiment surrounding Bitcoin and other risk assets.” 

Ether dropped 1.86% to US$1,869, while trading 3.92% higher for the week and 1.25% lower for the month.

Despite the overall bearish sentiment, “the market appears more upbeat about the second-largest crypto by market cap, as its deflationary features are supporting prices,” said Jeff Mei, Chief Operating Officer at crypto exchange BTSE, citing data from Ultra Sound Money that showed almost 200,000 Ether have been burnt in the past 30 days. 

All other top 10 non-stablecoin cryptocurrencies logged losses in the past 24 hours, with Litecoin leading the losers.

Litecoin moved 2.62% lower to US$89.76, but remains up 4.62% for the week as the token’s third halving event draws near, which would reduce the supply of the token. 

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, is said to be planning to lay off 20% of employees in June, according to Wu Blockchain on Wednesday citing unnamed sources. Binance Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Hillmann later responded on Twitter that “Binance is not cutting 20% of employees as a cost-cutting measure,” but faces “a historic operational challenge to overcome” as the company faces pressure from regulators and needs to reallocate resources.

“(Binance’s rumored job cuts are) a marker that traders will look at when scoping out the health of the market and profitability of crypto businesses and projects,” said Justin d’Anethan, head of APAC business development at Belgium-based crypto market maker Keyrock. “It probably doesn’t help that exchange volumes are at an abysmal low compared to the top of 2021-2022.”

Binance’s BNB token dropped 1.85% in the past 24 hours to US$306.28, just holding a weekly gain of 0.13%.

The total market cap of cryptocurrencies dropped 1.78% in the past 24 hours to US$1.14 trillion, while the 24-hour market volume rose 6.96% to US$32.85 billion.