Bitcoin hits new record high as warnings grow

The value of bitcoin has climbed almost 80 percent so far in December. (AFP)
Updated 15 December 2017
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Bitcoin hits new record high as warnings grow

LONDON: Bitcoin blasted to another all-time high of almost $18,000 on the Bitstamp exchange on Friday, up 9 percent on the day, as warnings grew over the risks of investing in the highly volatile and speculative instrument.
The cryptocurrency’s staggering recent price rises — more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year — have driven worries that the market is a bubble that could burst in spectacular fashion.
Bitcoin has climbed almost 80 percent so far in December alone, putting it on track for its best month in percentage terms since December 2013.
On Friday it reached as high as $17,900 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.
While bitcoin has added another fifth to its value since Monday, trading has been slightly calmer than the wild price swings the market has seen in recent weeks, with volatility lower since the launch of bitcoin futures from CBOE Global Markets on Sunday.
Market-watchers said bitcoin’s price was being lifted by the launch of rival CME Group’s bitcoin futures contracts on Sunday.
“The hope (is) that futures signal the unlocking of institutional money into the digital arena and (that there will be) a rapid demand increase and ratification of the technology and its principles,” said Charles Hayter, founder of industry website Cryptocompare.
But outside of the crypto market, worries continue to grow about the amount of money piling into the space.
A study by Anglia Ruskin University, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University released on Friday said bitcoin could pose a threat to the financial stability of traditional currencies and markets.
“Our evidence finds that the price of bitcoin has been artificially inflated by speculative investment, putting it in a bubble,” said Larisa Yarovaya, one of the report’s authors and a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University.
“Although bitcoin is not regulated by governments, it could still have a knock-on effect on traditional markets due to the interconnectedness of cryptocurrency markets with other financial assets.”
Others, however, say bitcoin’s total market size — around $300 billion — mean the impact of any future price collapse would not be large enough to have a knock-on effect on financial stability.
The BBC reported late on Thursday that the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, Andrew Bailey, had warned that bitcoin buyers should be prepared for the possibility that they could “lose all their money.”
Outages on some of the world’s biggest exchanges this week, which left millions of investors unable to access their funds during periods when trading volumes were high, have also fueled concerns about the fragility of the market’s infrastructure.
— REUTERS


Pompeo says China is engaging in ‘predatory economics 101’

Would China have allowed America to do to it what China has done to America asked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AP)
Updated 18 June 2018
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Pompeo says China is engaging in ‘predatory economics 101’

  • He said China’s recent claims of “openness and globalization” are “a joke.”

DETROIT: China is engaging in “predatory economics 101” and an “unprecedented level of larceny” of intellectual property, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a business audience Monday.
Pompeo made the remarks at the Detroit Economic Club as global markets reacted to trade tensions between the US and China. Both nations started putting trade tariffs in motion that are set to take effect July 6.
He said China’s recent claims of “openness and globalization” are “a joke.” He added that China is a “predatory economic government” that is “long overdue in being tackled,” matters that include IP theft and Chinese steel and aluminum flooding the US market.
“Everyone knows ... China is the main perpetrator,” he said. “It’s an unprecedented level of larceny.”
“Just ask yourself: Would China have allowed America to do to it what China has done to America?” he said later. “This is predatory economics 101.”
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pompeo raised the trade issue directly with China last week, when he met in Beijing with President Xi Jinping and others.
“I reminded him that’s not fair competition,” Pompeo said.
President Donald Trump has announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports. China is retaliating by raising import duties on $34 billion worth of American goods, including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey. Trump also has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies.
Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump’s watch. Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, said last week that a “tariff battle” could result in price inflation and consumer debt — “historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”
Pompeo on Monday described US actions as “economic diplomacy,” which, when done right, strengthens national security and international alliances, he added.
“We use American power, economic might and influence as a tool of economic policy,” he said. “We do our best to call out unfair economic behaviors as well.”