Opinion: The world economy is on the verge of crisis once again, cryptocurrencies will be strong

Written by: Leslie Lamb, Head of Institutional Sales, Amber Group

Source: Amber Group

Editor's Note: This article has been deleted without altering the author's original intention. The original title was "Viewpoint: When Does Music Box Performance Stop?"

Vulnerability refers to the property that things are vulnerable to damage when faced with fluctuations.

-Nassim Nicholas Taleb In the face of economic fluctuations, it is disadvantageous to hold such a negative view. Every capital market has its own life cycle, which inevitably goes through a process from growth, to peak, and then to recession. Now is no exception. We are emerging from the longest bull market in history and suddenly find ourselves in a highly vulnerable global economy facing the panicked and perplexed planet without any precaution. However, the turmoil has just begun.

Newton's first law, also known as "the law of inertia", means that any object must maintain a constant linear motion or standstill until an external force forces it to change its state of motion. Although this analogy does not perfectly correspond to the capital market (because the market is always changing and developing in different directions), at least one thing is certain that under the action of the market mechanism, the market cycle always presents Trend from peak to valley.

The music box winds up, and the performance of the song sounds, and then it stops after a while. When this happens, the market structure collapses, eventually leading to huge chaos, and then falling into silence. Once external forces force the entire economy into trouble, people will realize the long-standing hidden structural defects in the economy.

Now, the world economy is on the verge of crisis again. All human beings have to face a sudden outbreak of a global epidemic and the resulting shocks in supply and demand in the market. The economies of some countries have stalled. Ironically, the effects of inertia may be prevalent in market fluctuations.

While witnessing the development of the global economy, we still find two simultaneous macro trends:


USD strong

We believe that the strong US dollar is driven by three factors:

Investors turn to safe assets: Although the Federal Reserve has adopted interest rate cuts and monetary stimulus policies, the market's increasing demand for the US dollar has pushed up the US dollar index and hit a new high in 18 years.

US dollar financing issues: Cross-currency basis swaps measure that investors are more inclined to hold the US dollar than the euro or the yen.

On March 17, the euro-dollar basis swap swap premium expanded from -60 basis points to -120 basis points, the highest level since 2011. As of press time, the Euro-US dollar basis swap has rapidly dropped to about -27 basis points, while the US dollar-Japanese yen basis swap has expanded to -70 basis points. Negative basis points indicate greater pressure on the dollar and higher hedging costs for European and Japanese investors.

The reality is that banks in the United States, which are the main source of funding for the US dollar, are storing large amounts of cash, rather than actively issuing short-term US dollar loans to foreign banks. Due to recent pressure from the balance sheet, more and more U.S. banks are beginning to reduce credit lines to retain cash. In addition, many foreign banks that lack direct access to the US dollar market can only rely on central bank liquidity swaps for financing. This week, the Federal Reserve and several other central banks opened new liquidity swap tools, providing USD 30 billion to USD 60 billion of liquidity, respectively, to ease pressure on USD financing.

Central banks in emerging market countries are taking urgent steps and lowering their benchmark interest rates: Emerging market investors are very worried about the stability of their currencies and are pouring into the dollar market. According to Bloomberg, all major emerging market currencies weakened against the US dollar on January 20, just as the new crown virus began to spread in Asia.

——2—— Treasury liquidity tightening

Abnormally performing credit markets: Generally, price fluctuations will prompt investors to switch from risky assets (such as stocks) to safe-haven assets (such as bonds). This was indeed the case when the new coronavirus was causing panic. But the current despair of market investors for liquidity (especially cash) has led to a large-scale sell-off in the global bond market, falling bond prices and rising interest rates.

Repurchase market: The Federal Reserve's rescue measures have not brought the expected results. In the past week, the Federal Reserve announced three repurchases and other measures to release liquidity, hoping to ease the status of the US Treasury market and reduce the inventory of primary dealers. However, market demand for government bonds remains sluggish.

Let's turn our eyes from the home of the macro economy to the cryptocurrency market. Although they are not necessarily related, we find that the two are closely related.

In the face of volatility, it is particularly important to develop a price action strategy. The CBOE-VIX index (an indicator that predicts the S & P 500's movement over the next 30 days) has surged to its highest level since the last global financial crisis. At the same time, we also saw that the 90-day implied volatility of Bitcoin options rose to 6.8% (annualized 130%), which is about 5.9% (annualized 113%) this weekend. As the "Black Thursday" on March 12th, BTC was down 40% and ETH was down 50%, some leveraged positions were forced to close. According to reports, BitMEX alone closed USD 700 million worth of long and short positions. At the same time, the sell-off of ETH dropped the value of the DeFi ecosystem by 40%. The total amount of collateral liquidation of Compound, dYdX and Maker and other lending platforms reached US $ 10 million. But not all assets perform so badly in this volatile market.

Although the price of BTC, like the stock market at the beginning, plummeted, falling by 60% from the price peak in mid-February, it rebounded by about 50% from the price low on March 12. Over the past period, we have found a large amount of funds flowing from altcoins to BTC. With the spot premium (the spot price is higher than the futures price), the demand for bitcoin lending has increased. The effective fund interest rate also gradually returned to normal as the curve was inverted. In contrast, when futures are at a premium (the futures price is higher than the spot price), there is almost no demand for BTC's lending transactions. At present, the BTC funding rate on various lending platforms has increased from annualized 3-5% to annualized 8%, and the ETH funding rate has increased from annualized 2-4% to annualized 6%.

——3—— Floating profit stablecoin market

Since February 14, the entire cryptocurrency market has experienced a large-scale sell-off, with a market value of $ 45 billion evaporated. At the same time, the market value of USDT has risen to nearly $ 5 billion. USDT has emerged from this market volatility and has become a safe-haven asset. This week, China and South Korea's USDT price premium rate is as high as 7%, which is caused by the demand of payment service providers and arbitrage traders. Currently, the over-the-counter USDT supply exceeds supply. At the same time, the market value of USDC climbed to US $ 630 million, a record high. The market value of BUSD is breaking the $ 150 million mark, mainly due to the surge in demand for Binance's borrowing and margin trading.

——4—— Near-term outlook

We pay close attention to the changing macroeconomic trends and the successive monetary and fiscal policies implemented by governments around the world. Although we cannot predict the specific trend of the market, we still believe that cryptocurrency as an asset class will be strong. In a nutshell, we think:

● Due to the recent sell-off in the market, the value of positions has shrunk sharply, making the distribution of positions in the market clearer.

● With the exit of market makers, the spread between major exchanges has brought more market arbitrage opportunities for retail traders. In particular, the derivatives market (futures and perpetual swaps) has seen a significant discount compared to the spot market, which has pushed up BTC's lending rate.

● By hedging the spot and long futures, market participants can carry out arbitrage trading, which is completely contrary to the market situation we saw last year (the futures price is significantly higher than the spot).

● Over the past six months, trading activities in the options market have grown rapidly. We expect that trading activities in the options market will continue to grow.

● At present, on our platform, institutional clients such as hedge funds, arbitrage traders, crypto companies, etc. have all bought a lot of BTC and USDT.

Market volatility is part of investment. We believe that after a period of time, the economy will re-enter the upward trajectory, please let us work together for it.