As Crypto Rallies on Strong Jobs Data, Analysts Speculate on Powell’s Next Move

The Fed has kept an eye on labor statistics in recent months with the hopes of gauging the odds of a recession


key takeaways

  • July’s jobs data crushed expectations
  • Additional 75 basis point hikes, or more, are likely to come, analysts said

Jobs data released Friday showed strong growth in the workforce and a decline in unemployment, suggesting a Federal Reserve policy pivot may not come in September. 

The US economy added 528,000 jobs in July, more than doubling analysts’ expectations, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate also marginally dipped from 3.6% to 3.5% last month. 

The Fed has kept an eye on labor statistics in recent months with the hope of gauging the odds of a recession. Strong jobs data will likely validate Fed Chair Powell’s recent rate-hiking moves, analysts said. 

“Numbers this strong push back strongly against the idea that we’re close to peak inflation or peak hawkishness,” Tom Essaye, founder of Sevens Report Research, wrote in a note Friday. “The looming CPI report could keep any market fallout from being too intense (as hope for a soft CPI should support assets) but we’d still expect moderate declines.”

Stocks traded sideways Friday, while cryptocurrencies extended recent gains. The S&P 500 was trading down 0.5% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost about 1% Friday late in the trading session. Bitcoin and ether gained 0.8% and 4.2%, respectively. 

Friday’s jobs data comes a day after asset manager BlackRock said it would begin facilitating institutional cryptocurrency trading through Coinbase’s prime brokerage service. The exchange’s stock rallied more than 30% Thursday before paring gains. 

“There was, what has become, a rare good news headline for bitcoin on Thursday after Coinbase was chosen to provide crypto services to Blackrock’s clients,” Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at OANDA, wrote Friday. “This is a big show of support for an asset class that’s had a frankly terrible year so far. But clearly, there remains strong demand for cryptos which bodes well for the future.”

It is hard to say how long the turnaround for COIN and the broader crypto market will last, analysts agreed, but on the whole, it shows the industry moving in a positive direction. 

“While small and retail investors have been virtually shaken out of the space over the past few months, institutions are now making a comeback,” said Mikkel Mørch, executive director at digital asset investment fund ARK36. “Evidently, big players like BlackRock see neither the recent slump in prices nor the waves of bankruptcies among crypto companies as evidence that it’s over for cryptocurrencies or that there is something fundamentally wrong with this asset class.”

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