Bitcoin traded sideways on Thursday as Fed officials speaking during the first day of the central bank’s Economic Symposium were circumspect about an interest rate hike in September.

Price Action

Bitcoin Little Changed as Traders Await Powell Speech

Bitcoin’s price changed little on Thursday, hovering around $21,500 as traders remain focused on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the U.S. central bank’s Economic Symposium, scheduled for Friday.

The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization started the week at $21,518 and was recently trading at $21,524. But Friday should bring some action.

On the first day of the Fed’s 45th annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, officials offered few clues as to whether the bank now prefers a 50 or 75 basis point rate hike, which would be announced in September at the next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

In an interview with CNBC, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said that decision depends on the next inflation reading, expected Sept. 13. But he doesn’t think it’s wise to “rush way up” but instead to “go up and sit for a while.”

“I think we have to recognize that a 50 basis point move is still a substantial move, so whether it’s 50 or 75 I can’t say right now. But let’s not think that 50 isn’t a substantial move,” Harker said.

Harker also said he’d like to see rates go up to 3.4% and leave them there for a little while before making another move. However, Kansas City Fed President Esther George said in an interview with Bloomberg that rates may need to go above 4%.

Regarding the Fed’s long-term inflation outlook, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told CNBC he thinks markets are mispricing inflation and that price pressure will be sticky for longer than most investors anticipate.

Meanwhile, ether (ETH) continued to inch upward on Thursday. The native token of the Ethereum blockchain has gained 5% this week amid the confirmation of the long-awaited Merge’s kick-off date, expected somewhere between Sept. 10 and Sept. 20.

ETH optimism could be short-lived, however, and long-term sentiment could soon turn bearish, according to Rafal Tworkowski, a market analyst at forex trading firm Conotoxia.

“With Ethereum set to become a proof-of-stake blockchain at the beginning of September, the ether tokens might hold firm for a while,” he said. However, the token’s technical chart showed ether sliding below its 50-day moving average, which could point “to the downside,” he added.

Latest Prices

●Bitcoin (BTC): $21,582 −0.5%

●Ether (ETH): $1,704 +1.7%

●S&P 500 daily close: 4,199.20 +1.4%

●Gold: $1,771 per troy ounce +1.3%

●Ten-year Treasury yield daily close: 3.03% −0.08

Bitcoin, ether and gold prices are taken at approximately 4pm New York time. Bitcoin is the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (XBX); Ether is the CoinDesk Ether Price Index (ETX); Gold is the COMEX spot price. Information about CoinDesk Indices can be found at coindesk.com/indices.

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