In brief

  • After record breaking highs, the world's biggest cryptocurrencies have pulled back.
  • More than $1 billion in long positions were liquidated over the weekend.
  • US markets are expecting strong consumer data to back market recovery.

Bitcoin and Ethereum’s love affair with sky-high valuations continued across Valentine’s Day weekend. But come Monday, things weren’t looking quite so sweet. 

Bitcoin’s peak came on February 14, when it hit $48,632 according to data company Nomics. Depending on which markets you’re watching, Bitcoin went as high as $49,500 on the day.  

But as soon as it began flirting dangerously with $50,000 it pulled back, slumping back to $47,000. 

Things have improved slightly, but market watchers who were certain Bitcoin was going to go all the way beyond $50,000 and had placed long positions on the price, saw their bets wiped out, according to Bybt, a derivatives market data company. 

In fact, nearly $600 million in long positions went up in smoke on Bitcoin alone. But the bleeding didn’t stop there. 

Rekt. IMAGE: Bybt

Ethereum also broke records across the weekend, but its peak came at the start of the weekend, instead of the end. On February 12, it touched $1,840 on February 12, according to Nomics. 

It’s position has been sliding ever since, taking bullish futures traders with it. Ethereum saw $330 million in liquidations in the last 24 hours, demonstrating once again, that while crypto has the air of legitimacy about it, it’s still a wild ride when it comes to price movements.  

Further afield few if any projects escaped the blood letting. The biggest casualties were Ripple, down 8%, Stellar down 10%, EOS down 12% and Dogecoin taking a significant 13% hit in its price. 

The slump saw global market cap shrink from highs of $1.5 trillion back down to $1.3 trillion. Things are recovering slightly but it was a baptism of fire for new investors this weekend. 

Retail and Housing Data set to dominate markets this week 

US markets are off today thanks to a national holiday, but sentiment is focused on improving consumer spending and housing data to underpin the market’s recent bull run. 

Economists are looking for retail sales to rise by 0.9% in January over December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg

Consumer spending is also looking more positive, according to Bank of America. "Since the beginning of the year, total card spending is running at an average 5.6% year-over-year pace, up notably from the December average of 2.5% year-over-year," Bank of America economists Michelle Meyer and Anna Zhou wrote in a note last week.

Alongside that, a fresh batch of housing data is set to indicate that Americans took full advantage of low interest rates to move last year, but things may be slowing this quarter. 

The Commerce Department's housing report, due on Thursday is expected to show that both new-home construction and permits for future construction retreated from a 14-year high. December's housing starts had surged 5.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.669 million, the highest level since 2006. After such a strong year-end bounce, consensus economists are looking for starts to tick down by 0.7% in January.

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