Friday’s March US jobs report might shake up the Bitcoin market. Traders will closely monitor non-farm payrolls, which are forecast to decline to 239,000 from 311,000 a month earlier, labor market slack, and wage growth. The unemployment rate shows that the US job market has been historically healthy during the last year.
March’s 3.6% unemployment rate is expected to continue near multi-decade lows.
Wage growth, however, has been slowing in recent months, with further weakening likely on Friday. This week’s US job market data has disappointed, so economists predict Friday’s report to be poorer. On Tuesday, February JOLTs data showed US job vacancies (a strong proxy for labor demand) plummeting to a two-year low under 10 million.
On Wednesday, payroll provider ADP’s estimate of the net change in US employment surprised to the negative, while on Thursday, yearly adjustments to weekly unemployment claims were higher. The first ISM PMI survey, issued on Monday, showed the US manufacturing sector in a steeper downturn than projected. On Wednesday, the US services sector slowed to a halt.
All in all, this week’s terrible news has raised concerns that 1) the Fed’s tightening over the last year is finally affecting the economy and a recession later this year is possible and 2) the Fed will soon drop interest rates. March’s bank crisis and its predicted chilling effect on lending over the next quarters increase downside risks for the US economy and support a Fed cutting cycle.
These macro factors have impacted hard on the US dollar and US rates in recent weeks and supported Bitcoin. BTC/USD has stayed flat near $28,000 for three weeks, but it’s up 70% for the year and 43% from last month’s lows under $20,000. A worsening US labor market on Friday will reinforce the case for Fed cutbacks to prevent a recession. Stronger-than-expected statistics may reduce recession worries and bolster Fed tightening bets.
According to the CME’s Fed Watch Tool, US money markets now estimate a near-50/50 likelihood that the Fed rises interest rates at its meeting next month, which would be the cycle’s final. Money markets also give the Fed a 50% likelihood of cutting interest rates by at least 25 bps by July and to about 4.0% by the end of the year. Given that US markets will be closed for Good Friday, this US jobs data is unique.
Crypto usually follows the dollar, yields, and stock market. Bitcoin will not have such asset classes to track and trade. Expect turbulent and erratic trading due to low liquidity due to the holiday. Stronger-than-expected jobs data = weaker crypto. (as the US dollar, yields and Fed tightening bets rise). Weaker-than-expected jobs report = Stronger crypto (as the US dollar, yields and Fed tightening bets fall).
After forming a pennant structure, Bitcoin is ready for a breakout, as reported in recent articles. A higher employment report might send Bitcoin lower again into support-turned-resistance at $26,500 or $25,500. A weaker-than-expected report may send Bitcoin over recent highs in the mid-$29,000s, above $30,000, and into the $32,500-$33,000 barrier level.
A negative report might damage Bitcoin as people worry about a US recession, while a solid report could benefit Bitcoin as recession concerns recede. Long-term, financial conditions and the Fed matter more to Bitcoin than economic development.