The charts that matter: bitcoin surges to a new record high

As bitcoin storms through its previous record high price, John Stepek looks at how it's affected the charts that matter most to the global economy.

Welcome back.

First things first, keep an eye out for a very special podcast landing in your inbox on Monday morning – Merryn has interviewed one of our favourite financial market analysts, Russell Napier. I won’t give you any spoilers here – suffice to say, it’s a must-listen. Don’t enter 2021 without it! Look out for it, Monday morning, first thing.

In the current issue of MoneyWeek, we look at IPO fever – is it really such a bad thing in a decade that has seen equity markets shunned as a place to raise capital? – and our regular writers give their top tips for the year ahead. That includes me, and I can only say I hope I do better than I did last year… get your first six issues free here if you don’t already subscribe.

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Also in this week’s podcast, after a succession of guests and City professionals and people whose opinions you might actually want to hear, I finally join Merryn again to chat about V-shaped recoveries, investment ideas for 2021, and how all in all it’s been a very weird year in more ways than one. Merryn also interviews a pair of entrepreneurs to find out how startup companies have coped in what certainly felt like a very hostile environment. Have a listen here.

Oh and just on podcasts – if you have the time or the inclination and the option to do so, do please leave a review (preferably a five-star one) on whatever podcast platform you use. It’s not just for our egos – the more good reviews we get, the more listeners we attract, and the more resources we can invest in developing the podcast to make it even better.

Speaking of IPOs, that’s what our latest “Too Embarrassed To Ask” video is all about. So if you’re confused as to what an IPO is, or why it happens, you can dispel that confusion in a little over two minutes’ viewing by clicking here.

And just to say – this’ll be the last Saturday edition of Money Morning until 9 January. But your daily Money Morning will soldier on through 2020 for a while longer.

Anyway, here are the links for this week’s editions of Money Morning and other web stories you may have missed.

Now for the charts of the week.

The charts that matter

Gold made a comeback this week as the most important event of all – the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting – passed by without any sign that the Fed will even consider raising interest rates until inflation is well and truly upon us. With a signal of intent that clear, it’s almost a surprise that gold isn’t higher than it is.

Gold price chart

(Image credit: Gold price chart)

(Gold: three months)

The US dollar index (DXY – a measure of the strength of the dollar against a basket of the currencies of its major trading partners) slid decisively after the Fed meeting, and it’s getting harder and harder for dollar bulls to maintain the idea that this is a passing correction.

US dollar chart

(Image credit: US dollar chart)

(DXY: three months)

The Chinese yuan (or renminbi) carried on rising against the US currency (when the black line below rises, it means the yuan is getting weaker vs the dollar). At some point, the Chinese will start to feel that this is a problem – it’s not good for their manufacturers – but so far we haven’t reached that point.

CNY/USD chart

(Chinese yuan to the US dollar: since 25 Jun 2019)

The yield on the ten-year US government bond was little changed, but drifting higher.

US Treasury bonds chart

(Image credit: US Treasury bonds chart)

(Ten-year US Treasury yield: three months)

The yield on the Japanese ten-year stayed nailed to the floor.

Japanese bonds chart

(Image credit: Japanese bonds chart)

(Ten-year Japanese government bond yield: three months)

The yield on the ten-year German Bund perked up imperceptibly from last week.

German Bunds chart

(Image credit: German Bunds chart)

(Ten-year Bund yield: three months)

Copper kept rising as investors become ever more convinced of the “green bubble, reflation bonanza” scenario for next year.

Copper price chart

(Image credit: Copper price chart)

(Copper: nine months)

The Aussie dollar made further gains as it benefits both from demand for commodities and from the weakening US dollar.

AUD/USD chart

(Image credit: AUD/USD chart)

(Aussie dollar vs US dollar exchange rate: three months)

Cryptocurrency bitcoin had a stellar week. It finally broke decisively above the 2017 high, amid signs that it’s going mainstream.

Bitcoin price chart

(Image credit: Bitcoin price chart)

(Bitcoin: three months)

US weekly jobless claims rose even further this week, coming in at 885,000, compared to 862,000 last week (which was revised up from 853,000). Economists had been hoping for closer to 800,000. The four-week moving average rose to 812,500 from 776,000 the week before.

US jobless chart

(US jobless claims, four-week moving average: since Jan 2020)

The oil price (as measured by Brent crude) also surged higher this week as more investors buy into the reflation trade as mattering more than the longer-term “we don’t need oil anymore” trade.

Brent oil price chart

(Image credit: Brent oil price chart)

(Brent crude oil: three months)

Amazon drifted again as the background music grows ever more hostile to Big Tech, and because it’s also not a reflation trade stock.

Amazon share price chart

(Image credit: Amazon share price chart)

(Amazon: three months)

Meanwhile Tesla just kept going as its promotion to the S&P 500 looms next week. I am very curious to see what happens when it goes up into the “grown-up” index. Will that mark the top? Will the weird option-related shenanigans that have helped the stock cease to function properly? Will it be a case of “buy the news, sell the event”? We’ll soon find out, just in time for Christmas.

Tesla share price chart

(Image credit: Tesla share price chart)

(Tesla: three months)

Have a great weekend. And don’t miss the Russell Napier podcast – it’ll be in your inbox bright and early on Monday!

John Stepek

John is the executive editor of MoneyWeek and writes our daily investment email, Money Morning. John graduated from Strathclyde University with a degree in psychology in 1996 and has always been fascinated by the gap between the way the market works in theory and the way it works in practice, and by how our deep-rooted instincts work against our best interests as investors.

He started out in journalism by writing articles about the specific business challenges facing family firms. In 2003, he took a job on the finance desk of Teletext, where he spent two years covering the markets and breaking financial news. John joined MoneyWeek in 2005.

His work has been published in Families in Business, Shares magazine, Spear's Magazine, The Sunday Times, and The Spectator among others. He has also appeared as an expert commentator on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, BBC Radio Scotland, Newsnight, Daily Politics and Bloomberg. His first book, on contrarian investing, The Sceptical Investor, was released in March 2019. You can follow John on Twitter at @john_stepek.