The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points (bps) after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Oct. 2, bringing the Federal Funds Rate to 3.75 – 4%.
Bitcoin reacted with an immediate 3% swing to the upside, topping out at $20,700 on the 18:00 (UTC) candle.
The Fed presses ahead with hike program
Following the Sept. 21 FOMC meeting, the Fed enacted a third consecutive 75 bps increase.
Since then, additional pressure to maintain the tempo of rate hikes has come from a buoyant U.S. jobs market, up by 263,000 jobs for September, and the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing worse-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.
Bruce Kasman, the Chief Economist and Head of Global Economic Research at JPMorgan, recently told Bloomberg that job growth needs to slow to 100,000 a month for the next two to three months before the Fed can even consider taking its foot off the gas.
Kasman said, in his view, it is reasonable for the Fed to pause interest rates at 4-4.5%.
Before today’s announcement, expectations were for a 75 bps hike, making today’s hike a non-event, according to CryptoSlate Analyst James Van Straten.
Instead, Van Straten said the focus is on the next FOMC meeting, scheduled for Dec. 14-15. Based on this outcome, the market can gauge whether the Fed intends to slow down with the pace of rate increases.
Currently, the market is 50/50 on whether December’s decision will yield a 50 or 75 bps increase.
Bitcoin spikes to $20,7000
In the run-up to the rate announcement, Bitcoin began trending lower from a local top of $20,550. This was followed by a drop to $20,144 on the preceding 15-minute candle.
Once the announcement was made, Bitcoin moved to $20,700, making up for all of the previous losses. However, it remains to be seen whether this uptick can be sustained to break out of its narrow trading band.