Several popular cryptocurrencies rose this morning, as investors wait for the release of the latest meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve.
Since late afternoon yesterday, the price of the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum (ETH 3.31%), traded about 3.3% higher as of 11:11 a.m. ET today. The price of the meme token Dogecoin (DOGE 2.90%) traded about 2.8% higher, and shares of Cardano (ADA 5.74%) were up 6.5%.
Investors are still trying to find direction in the early days of 2023, with still quite a bit of debate going on about how the economy will fare this year and how much the Federal Reserve will continue to raise its benchmark overnight lending rate, the federal funds rate.
After the FTX bankruptcy, crypto investors are dealing with contagion in the industry, as well as a lack of faith. They are also wondering how regulators may act after such fraud transpired at one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.
But crypto is still being impacted by the Fed as well, so it’s something to watch as it relates to the sector. While investors seemed optimistic this morning, some new jobs data came in higher than expected. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that there were 10.5 million job openings in November, which is pretty much the same as in October. The number of people who quit during the month also remained relatively unchanged.
This shows a continuing strong labor market that plagued markets in 2022. Because the labor market is so healthy, people have been able to keep spending through the intense price hikes seen in 2022, which the Fed believes is driving some of the highest inflation seen in four decades. The Fed has said they really need to see deterioration in the labor market for evidence that it is winning its war against inflation.
But in more promising news for the Fed, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its ISM manufacturing index, which looks at production activity in the U.S. manufacturing industry, fell for the second straight month in December after 29 straight months of growth.
This may be a sign for the Fed that supply chain issues are easing, because the Institute for Supply Management also said that demand for things like new orders is on the decline.
While the data this morning can offer clues, I ultimately still think the market is in wait-and-see mode. The more evidence the Fed can get that inflation is easing and trending in the right direction, the quicker it can stop raising rates, which will create a better environment for riskier assets such as crypto.
Investors should pay close attention to the upcoming jobs report on Friday, another indication of how the labor market is holding up.
Ultimately, I think Ethereum and Cardano can be good long-term cryptocurrencies to own, given the Ethereum network’s utility and Cardano’s processing power. I’m not interested in Dogecoin, as I do not see anything inherently unique about the network or token.