Bitcoin (BTC) traded little changed on Tuesday as China’s first cut in benchmark interest rates in 10 months failed to lift sentiment in traditional markets.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) cut the one-year and five-year prime rates by 10 basis points (bps) to 3.55% and 4.3%, respectively. The one-year interest rate is a medium-term lending facility for business and household loans and the five-year interest rate is the reference interest rate for mortgages. Last week, China’s largest state-owned banks cut interest rates on demand deposits by 5 bps and 15 bps on three- and five-year time deposits. A basis point is one hundredth of a percentage point.
The looser conditions contrast with continued monetary tightening in Western economies and follow recent economic reports that showed the world̵[ads1]7;s second-largest economy is losing momentum and is on the brink of deflation.
Bitcoin, a pure play on liquidity, struggled to gather upside. The biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization changed hands near $$26,819 at 07:27 UTC after failing to hold gains above $27,150 in Asian hours, according to CoinDesk data.
The Australian dollar, which is sensitive to the Chinese economy due to the strong trade ties between the two countries, fell 0.7% against the US dollar, and China’s benchmark share index, the CSI, traded flat to negative. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell more than 0.5% and S&P 500 futures traded 0.3% lower.
The risk-off action suggests investors are unsure that interest rate cuts will be enough to prop up the slowing economy and are looking for a bigger stimulus package.
“It may be the market’s way of saying that the rate cuts spell more trouble than it is a solution to China’s recent economic struggles,” ForexLive analyst Justin Low said in a market update.
Some crypto watchers say that greater China stimulus could offset the hawkish biases of the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and others, ultimately pushing risk assets higher.
“Reports also suggest that China is preparing a 1 trillion yuan stimulus package. This is BIG news in terms of global liquidity,” said David Brickell, director of institutional sales at crypto-liquidity network Paradigm, in the latest edition of Macro Pulse. One trillion yuan is about 140 billion dollars.
“If global liquidity rises, bitcoin should start pumping hard from here,” Brickell added.