A week could not be more important for Bitcoin and the broader crypto market! On Tuesday, at 08:30 ET, there will be the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Just one day later, on Wednesday, December 14 at 14:00 ET, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will hold its last meeting of the year. For the fourth time this year, there will be an updated forecast for inflation and interest rates (dot plot).
Generally, there is a simple base case scenario: if the numbers are better than expected, there will be a rally for risk-on assets like Bitcoin. If the CPI falls short of expectations, Bitcoin could face a new bear market low.
Did Bitcoin Overreact To The PPI?
To assess how likely both scenarios are, it is also worth looking back at the recent producer price index (PPI) release. The PPI was higher than expected.
However, expectations were relatively high. The core PPI was forecast at 7.2% in October, but actually fell to 6.7%, a 0.5% month-to-month decline.
The core PPI November forecast was 5.9%. In reality, though, the PPI came in at 6.2%. While this looks bearish at first, it really wasn’t. This still represented a 0.5% decline month-over-month.
The PPI shows the same story. The value fell for two consecutive months, 0.5% and 0.6%. The expectation was a 1.1% decline in one month, which was extremely unrealistic.
The markets’ projected target was an extremely low number, and the failure to meet that expectation was, in a sense, an overreaction. Inflation has continued to fall significantly, just less than less than expected.
Ultimately, expectations were a bit out of touch with reality. In addition, the PPI is fundamentally more volatile than the CPI, and also fluctuates seasonally. With the Christmas and gift-giving season, fluctuation is not uncommon.
A Game Of Expectations
So what are the expectations for the CPI? CPI fell 0.5% in October to 7.7%, while 8.0% was predicted. Tuesday’s expectations are now 0.4% lower. The forecasted CPI is 7.3%.
Core CPI is expected at 6.1%, which would represent a 0.2% decline. The October reading was 6.3%, while the expectation was 6.5%, creating a positive surprise.
The forecast for the CPI and the Core CPI are thus much more moderate and less unrealistic than for the PPI. Unlike the PPI, there are no extremely high expectations.
Even a “small” surprise could be enough to turn the market bullish. In a best-case scenario, we see a number of around 7% for the CPI on Tuesday.
Moreover, a renewed drop in the CPI could confirm that inflation peaked. If the CPI falls for the sixth month in a row, fears of a second wave of inflation would also be allayed for now.
All Eyes On The FOMC Meeting
Last but not least, the CPI numbers will be quite crucial for the FOMC decision on Wednesday. The market has priced in a 78% probability that the Fed will slow the pace of rate hikes to 50 basis points at that meeting.
However, the words spoken at the FOMC press conference are likely to be even more important, as well as the forecasts of updated economic projections.
For the first time since September, the market will see an updated dot plot, an extremely important piece of information, as NewsBTC reported.
Banking giant ING, meanwhile, laid out some potential scenarios that could put the market in risk-off or on mode. ING’s base case is that the Federal Reserve will hike rates by 50 bps, with 5% end 2023.
As the monetary policy works with long & varied lags, ING expects a slowdown in future rate hikes, and clear cuts in 2024. This scenario could provide the bulls with the powder they need to start a rally.
At press time, the Bitcoin price dropped to $16,920 in Monday morning trading in Asia.