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Bitcoin falls to lowest since January, in line with tumbling stock markets

Bitcoin falls to lowest since January, in line with tumbling stock markets

FILE PHOTO: A bitcoin representation is seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, June 23, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

HONG KONG: Bitcoin fell to its lowest level since January on Monday (May 9) as slumping equity markets continued to hurt cryptocurrencies, which are currently trading in line with so-called riskier assets like tech stocks.

Bitcoin dropped to as low as US$33,266 in morning trade, testing the January low of US$32,951. A fall below that level would be its lowest since July last year.

It then steadied to trade around US$33,500, down 1.4 per cent.

"I think everything within crypto is still classed as a risk asset, and similar to what we've seen with the Nasdaq, most cryptocurrencies are getting pummelled," said Matt Dibb, COO of Singapore-based crypto platform Stack Funds

The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.5 per cent last week and has lost 22 per cent year to date, hurt by the prospect of persistent inflation forcing the US Federal Reserve to hike rates despite slowing growth. Nasdaq futures were down a further 0.8 per cent in Asia trade on Monday morning.

Dibb said other factors in the decline over the weekend - bitcoin closed on Friday at around US$36,000 - were the crypto market's notoriously low liquidity over the weekends, and also short-lived fears that algorithmic stablecoin called Terra USD (UST) could lose its peg to the dollar.

Stablecoins are digital tokens pegged to other traditional assets, often the US dollar.

UST is closely watched by the crypto community both because of the novel way in which it maintains its 1:1 dollar peg, and because its founders have set out plans to build a reserve of US$10 billion worth of bitcoin to back the stablecoin, meaning volatility in UST could potentially spill over into bitcoin markets.

Ether, the world's second-largest cryptocurrency, which underpins the ethereum network, fell as low as US$2,421 on Monday, its lowest since late February.

Source: Reuters/gs

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