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Investors fear ‘crypto winter’ is coming as bitcoin falls 50% from record highs

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As cryptocurrency investors reel from the sharp sell-off in bitcoin and other digital currencies, some fear the worst is yet to come.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest virtual currency, briefly plunged below $33,000 Monday to its lowest level since July. It’s since recovered back above the $36,000 mark, but is still down almost 50% from a record high of nearly $69,000 in November.

Meanwhile, the entire crypto market has shed more than $1 trillion in value since bitcoin’s all-time high, as top tokens such as ether and solana followed the No. 1 digital currency to trade sharply lower. Ether has more than halved in value since reaching its peak in November, while solana has suffered an even steeper decline, falling 65%.

That’s got some crypto investors talking about the possibility of a “crypto winter,” a phrase referring to historic bear markets in the young digital currency market’s history. The most recent such occurrence happened in late 2017 and early 2018, when bitcoin crashed as much as 80% from all-time highs.

David Marcus, the former head of crypto at Facebook-parent Meta, appeared to admit a crypto winter has already arrived. In a tweet Monday, he said: “It’s during crypto winters that the best entrepreneurs build the better companies. This is the time again to focus on solving real problems vs. pumping tokens.”

Nadya Ivanova, chief operating officer at the BNP Paribas-affiliated tech research firm L’Atelier, said she’s not convinced a crypto winter has arrived yet — but the market is “now in a cooling off period.” That might not be so bad, she says.

“Over the last year — especially with all the hype in this market — a lot of developers seem to have been distracted by the easy gains from speculation in NFTs and other digital assets. A cooling off period might actually be an opportunity to start building the fundamentals of the market,” Ivanova told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

Crypto’s rout has come in tandem with a slide in global stocks. Experts say that involvement from large institutional funds has meant digital assets are becoming more intertwined with traditional markets.

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The S&P 500 has fallen 8% since the start of the year, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq index is down over 12%. The correlation between bitcoin and the S&P 500 hit a fresh all-time high of 0.3 on Monday, according to Coin Metrics data.

Traders fear potential interest rate hikes and aggressive monetary tightening from the Federal Reserve will drain liquidity from the market. The U.S. central bank is considering making such moves in response to surging inflation, and some analysts say it could result in the end of the era of ultra-cheap money and sky-high valuations — especially in high-growth sectors like tech, which benefits from lower rates since companies often borrow funds to invest in their business.

“I think it’s related to the rout and withdrawal from risky assets overall,” Ivanova said of bitcoin’s recent decline.

The moves lower in major digital coins has been a boon to stablecoins, or digital currencies that track the value of sovereign currencies like the U.S. dollar. USD Coin, the second-largest stablecoin, has added over $5 billion in market value since Sunday, according to data from CoinGecko.

Correction?

Vijay Ayyar, vice president of corporate development and international at crypto exchange Luno, thinks the recent slump in crypto is more of a “correction” than a sustained downturn.

Bitcoin has typically seen “blow-off tops” before diving 80% or more, he said. This refers to a chart pattern which shows a steep increase in price and trading volume followed by a sharp fall in price.

“Corrections for BTC usually are in the 30-50% range, which is where we are currently, so still within normal correction territory,” Ayyar said.

Looking ahead, he says a key level to watch for bitcoin is $30,000. If it closes below that point in a week or more, “that would definitely indicate high likelihood of a bear market,” he said. A decline of around 80% from bitcoin’s recent peak would indicate a price of less than $15,000. Ayyar doesn’t think such a scenario is on the table.

Still, investors are worried about the prospect of further regulatory crackdowns on the crypto industry. Last week, Russia’s central bank proposed banning the use and mining of cryptocurrencies, mimicking a similar move from neighboring China. And the U.S. government is reportedly preparing to release a strategy to regulate crypto as early as next month.

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FG targets 1.4mbpd domestic refining before 2027

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Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva

The Federal Government has disclosed plans to actualise 1.4 million barrels per day, mbpd, domestic refining of crude oil in the next five years.

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Nigeria’s GDP grew by 3.11% in Q1 – NBS report

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The National Bureau of Statistics has said the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.11 per cent in the first quarter of 2022.

The NBS said this on Monday in its new Gross Domestic Product Report, showing the sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth.

It stated the first quarter 2022 growth rate further represented gradual economic stability due to strong growth posted by the non-oil sector.

Part of the report read, “The Q1 2022 growth rate was higher than the 0.51% growth rate recorded in Q1 2021 by 2.60% points and lower than 3.98% recorded in Q4 2021 by 0.88% points. “Nevertheless, quarter-on-quarter, real GDP grew at -14.66% in Q1 2022 compared to Q4 2021, reflecting a lower economic activity than the preceding quarter.

“In the quarter under review, aggregate GDP stood at N45,317,823.33 million in nominal terms.

“This performance is higher when compared to the first quarter of 2021, which recorded aggregate GDP of N40,014,482.74 million, indicating a year-on-year nominal growth rate of 13.25%.

“The nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2022 was higher relative to the 12.25% growth recorded in the first quarter of 2021 and higher compared to the 13.11% growth recorded in the preceding quarter.”

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Reps summon NPA, terminal operators over huge debt owed FG

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The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee has summoned the leadership of the Nigerian Ports Authority and seaport terminal operators over $852.094 million and N1.897 billion and other funds owed the Federal Government.

According to the committee, N269.410 million of the N1.8 billion has been recovered while the balance of N1.6 billion “invoices processed on the encumbered areas remains unpaid.”

It added, “The sum of $504,663,452.37 is volume change on fix lease lease fee payment by APMT arising from clauses in the concession agreement between NPA and APMT out of the total sum of $852,093,730.77.

“Bills raised on encumbered areas which remain unpaid is $19,169,459.00. The following has been paid GMT-$54,707,700.08, unpaid penalties – $11,922,642.68 and unpaid VAT-$28,693,707.07”.

“$92,533,518.72 has been recovered; leaving unpaid lease and throughput fee in the sum of $139,970,637.71 (made up of $113,982,486.82 and $5,988,150.89) respectively.

The committee directed the NPA management to reconcile their records with the office of the AuGF and provide evidence of remitting the recovered N269.51m and $92.534m to the government.

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