September 2022 is going to be exciting. Although historically, this is a bad month for the stock markets. But it is not so for the crypto markets. In my humble opinion, there are a couple of key events that investors should be looking at very closely as they are all interlinked.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
We are starting with September 13. The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics will share the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report.
One of those data points is the August Jobs figures that are already out. A close look at the U.S. labor market data showed that non-farm payrolls rose by 315,000 in August, higher than the estimated 298,000 but lower than the previous month’s 526,000. A strong employment sector means a more resilient economic condition, thus propelling Fed to tackle inflation more aggressively. Analysts also dig into the jobs report for signs of what is happening with wage growth.
The U.S. CPI figures will ultimately assist the Fed in deciding whether to go for a 50bps or 75bps rate hike, together with the jobs data for August that was provided earlier this month. The U.S. inflation rate increased from 8.6% in May 2022 to 8.5% in July and 9.1% in June. The U.S. inflation rate for August may serve as a benchmark for future Fed rate hikes.
Ethereum Merge ETH/USD
This is a much-anticipated event in the crypto scene for this year. This event has already begun. They have shipped the Bellatrix upgrade, the final update before the Merge itself that is scheduled to happen from September 13-15.
This upgrade will reduce Ethereum’s carbon footprint as crypto mining will be removed, moving the network’s consensus mechanism from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS). This move has also affected Nvidia’s stock price, as they have been a key supplier of mining equipment. The miners are still hopeful, and they think that the fork will continue to keep them in the business. On top of these, there was a lot of news and marketing buzz around the new Eth PoW airdrop. Key opinion leaders are telling all that borrowing as many ETH from AAVE or Compound would make sense before the snapshot as they can expect maximum utilization.
The bullish signs are showing on the charts, with the price of Ethereum going up to 4.98% while Bitcoin remains stagnant.
Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)
The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings during the year and other discussions as needed. September 21 is the next meeting.
The Fed Chairman Powell’s “powerful” speech at Jackson Hole on August 26 is primarily to blame for the recent sharp decline in market prices. Powell’s comments were substantially more hawkish than anticipated and alarmed the market.
The market anticipated the Fed to remain neutral after recent inflation statistics revealed that inflation had peaked and prices were dropping. They expected the Fed to keep to its plans to increase interest rates by another 100-120 basis points (1% -1.2%) by the end of 2022, bringing the Fed funds rate to 3.25%-3.5%. At the last FOMC meeting, Powell had also given the market the assurance that the economy would have a soft landing and that no recession was imminent.
Powell used words like “bring some pain to households and businesses” and “very likely be some softening of labor conditions”. Analysts who looked at the speech were reading that the Fed Chair was suggesting the recent fall in inflation was not good enough. To stop inflation once and for all, the Fed was prepared to increase the unemployment rate, reduce wage growth, and sacrifice short-term growth.
For many Americans, the critical question is whether they can continue to keep their jobs, not the increase in rates of September as the Fed bears down on inflation.
The FOMC has raised interest rates four times in 2022 so far. If you are wondering what has the rate got to do with cryptocurrencies. For your information, Bitcoin’s price dipped as low as $17,500 following the Fed’s two-day meeting on June 14 and 15. The Fed raised interest rates by 0.75%. Generally, traders leave the market when interest rates increase, or other markets are impacted, which leads to a sell-off in cryptocurrencies.
Cardano Vasil Hard Fork
The Cardano ADA/USD Vasil hard fork is currently the second most anticipated upgrade in the crypto space, right behind the Ethereum Merge.
Many of us may not know the term “Vasil”. Cardano, ranked 8th on CoinMarketcap is a proof-of-stake blockchain platform: the first to be founded on peer-reviewed research and developed through evidence-based methods.
Vasil is a major upgrade on Cardano, bringing increased network capacity and lower-cost transactions. The upgrade will also bring improvement to Plutus, Cardano’s smart contract platform, to enable developers to create more efficient blockchain-based applications.
Cardano’s ADA token price rose 2.2% in the past 24 hours and 14% in the last week. This upgrade is confirmed to be on September 22.
Impact on the Financial Market
Because Bitcoin is seen as an investment instrument similar to stocks and bonds, the FOMC and macroeconomic pronouncements can greatly impact its price. Numerous studies show that these announcements also impact the financial market as a whole.
It remains to be seen if history will repeat itself and equities will conclude the month of September lower. As additional evidence comes in over the coming months, the idea of a Fed Pivot that was dismissed after Jackson Hole could start to materialize. Investors in the stock market anticipate that the Fed’s decision will provide them with guidance before the results of the upcoming quarter are released and when macroeconomic conditions change in 2023. Perhaps Ethereum and Cardano are the only shining knights in this financial uncertainty.
We will see.
I will end with a quote. “You will most likely come out on top in this bear market if you stick to your financial strategies and maintain your sense. Keep in mind that the people who sow their seeds today can become the millionaires who will profit from the upcoming bull market.”- Anndy Lian