Market Update 15 Mar 2013: Bitcoin Hiccup


Most assets were lower this week, with the major exceptions being Bitcoin, the free market online currency, and Cotton

Bitcoin ended the week up 8% at 917 mg, after recording another all-time high of 938 mg on Monday. Things got exciting the next day, as high transaction volumes caused two different versions of the Bitcoin mining software to update the distributed ledger (known as the "block chain") differently. This split, or "fork in the block chain", was deftly handled by the developer group, but it caused a dip in the price which has now been mostly erased. If you are interested in more technical details, you read about them here. This should serve as a reminder that Bitcoin is a young currency, and still vulnerable to failures of technical, social, or political origin.  Keep position sizes small enough that you won't be badly hurt if one them turns out to be fatal, but keep in mind that there is still tremendous upside if this experiment in free market money succeeds.

The government-issued currencies were all lower, led by the Japanese Yen, which fell 2.8% to close at 0.203 mg. The Euro was down 1.4%, and the USD dropped 0.9% to 19.5 mg, and is now 17.1% above its half-life curve.

Short term bonds (SHY) fell 0.8%, in line with USD cash.  Long bonds (TLT) were unchanged for the week.

Stocks were slightly lower across the board, led by the Nikkei Index, which fell 0.6% while the S&P 500 and the Gold Bugs Index each lost 0.3%. The Dow Jones Industrials were little changed, down 0.1%.

Commodities were mixed. Cotton rose another 5.6% to close at 18 mg/lb. Crude oil also gained ground, rising 0.8%. This week's big loser was Coffee, which dropped 5.6% to close at 26.6 mg/lb. Silver lost 0.4%. Platinum lost 0.6%, erasing the previous week's gain, to close at 31.06 g, now 0.2% below gold parity.

Table of prices in gold for week ending 15-Mar-2013

Leave a Comment

Fields marked by an asterisk (*) are required.

Subscribe without commenting