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SHARES SLIDE, DOLLAR CLIMBS AS INFLATION SPOOKS INVESTORS
Asian stocks fell to an almost two-year low and the dollar hit its highest in two decades on Thursday as data showed U.S. inflation persistently hot, deepening investor worries about the economic toll of aggressive interest rate hikes to tame it.
U.S. markets whipsawed after the news, then closed sharply lower. S&P 500 futures gave up early gains to fall 0.2% in the Asia session. European futures also fell, with EuroSTOXX 50 futures down 2% and FTSE futures down 1.6%.
Bitcoin , leading a fire-sale of risky assets as rate hikes gather steam, fell 8% to $26,570. It was near $40,000 a week ago and is 60% beneath its peak six months ago.
The growth-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars fell about 0.8% to almost two-year lows. The Chinese yuan slid to a 19-month trough while the U.S. dollar index hit 104.21, its highest since late 2002.
Headline U.S. consumer prices rose 8.3% for the 12 months to April, slower than the 8.5% pace of a month earlier, but higher than market forecasts for 8.1%. Traders said it underscored concern that rates will rise quickly in response.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 2.3% to a 22-month low. Japan's Nikkei (.N225) fell 1.8%.
BITCOIN FALLS TO LOWEST IN 16 MTHS, GIVING UP 2021 GAINS.
Bitcoin fell to its lowest in 16 months on Thursday, leading a rush out of risk assets such as tech stocks, while the collapse of TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin, underscored the strain on cryptocurrency markets.
The world's largest cryptocurrency dropped as low as $26,970, to stand at its lowest since Dec. 28, 2020. In the last eight sessions, it has lost a third of its value, or $13,000.
Bitcoin surged in 2021 to reach its all-time high of $69,000 that November.
Traders say its recent decline mirrors tumbles in tech stocks, as the Nasdaq (.IXIC) has lost 6.4% this week.
Another factor at play is the spectacular collapse of TerraUSD, once the world's third largest stablecoin, which broke its dollar peg this week to fall as low as 30 U.S. cents, causing ructions in the crypto industry.
Market players are still weighing the fallout of its collapse to identify if any major companies or investors have been badly hurt, as a possible clue to wider contagion.
Ether , the world's second largest cryptocurency, tumbled more than 10% on Thursday to stand as low as $1,833, its lowest since July 2021.