Bitcoin and the yuan

So the major stock indices are down between 5.9% and 7% since the last trading day in 2015 on Friday pre-market.

The bond market has rallied a bit on safe-haven status and gold and silver made a stand during the week.

But the surprise move has been bitcoin with a 15% move higher over the same time span as perhaps Chinese investors are looking for a place to store wealth as the Beijing cheapened the yuan over the last week.

Bitcoin gives its investors a cheap and somewhat easy way to play in the forex market by moving money from one currency to another without big fees and taxes.

Chinese players buying bitcoins in yuans can then sell in dollars without losing much on the devaluation. I have seen this to a lesser extent with South American currency swaps as cratering currencies in Brazil and Argentina have made it a cheap way to get case out without running afoul of the government.

Remember, while bitcoin is not for the faint of heart, it is the best performing currency trade over the last 5 years, year-over-year. So using bitcoin for transferring wealth works, but holding a bit of the digital coin works well too, as a somewhat risky investment.

As I write this in the pre-market on Friday, I see US futures falling from 150 point rise on Dow e-minis to 60 points and falling. Suggesting to me that any relief rally may be short-lived.

The buy the dip mentality seems to be waning as greater recessionary forces come to bear on stock valuations.

What I pointed out yesterday on Twitter was the fact that the new year cash coming into the market should buoy prices, but that seems to be muted at best.

WTI crude touched $32 a barrel yesterday and is down a nickel this morning at $33.25. That price suggests to me that more pain is in store as the dollar strengthens for global markets.


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