Bitcoin Panic Buying Drives Price To New High

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Bitcoin Panic Buying Drives Price To New High

Cuomo holds briefing on the coronavirus response in New York

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Shoppers at Costco in Brooklyn line up to enter the store on Monday morning to stock up on supplies

Pictures of empty shelves at grocery stores elsewhere in New York also emerged on the weekend, and shoppers weren’t letting up on Monday as hordes gathered outside Costco in Brooklyn waiting for the doors to open

This morning, shoppers once again lined up at the supermarket as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that the city will be testing for community spread.

Supplies have been flying off the shelves countrywide with people posting photos on social media showing the lack of products available in some stores and pharmacies.

In southern California, some Walgreens stores had been completely depleted of cough medicines, cold and flue medications, vaporizers, masks and thermometers. Shoppers in Hawaii were buying up flatbeds of canned goods, bottled water, toilet paper and paper towels from a local Costo. A supermarket aisle in Virginia had been stripped of non-perishable items like pasta.

Pictures of empty shelves at grocery stores elsewhere in New York also emerged on the weekend.

It came as Gov. Cuomo confirmed that the first coronavirus patient in New York was healthcare worker who is currently isolated in her Manhattan home.

A statement from the Cuomo’s office revealed the patient, an unidentified woman in her late 30s, contracted COVID-19 while traveling in Iran.

At least 91 patients in the US have now been confirmed to have coronavirus, after one was reported in Rhode Island and a fifth ‘unknown’ origin case was found in Chicago on Sunday.

Cuomo admitted that the deadly virus’ entrance into New York’s population of 19 million was a ‘matter of when, not if.’

On Saturday, America’s top doctor begged people to stop panic-buying face masks, fearing a shortage could cause an even bigger threat if medical facilities could not access the product.

Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams tweeted: ‘Seriously people – STOP Buying MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!’

‘The best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness.

more videos

Cuomo holds briefing on the coronavirus response in New York

Time-lapse shows incredible effort made to build NHS Nightingale

WHO: Global finances under threat as coronavirus hits a million cases

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Medical director for England: New cases have started to stabilise

Little girl with Benjamin Button disease makes paper heart for mum

Novak Djokovic finds a more creative way to train during lockdown

Cancer survivor Sylvia receives a life-changing makeover

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Mankind’s ancestor Homo erectus is far older than we thought

Patrons with shopping carts loaded with tissue and water wait in checkout queues at a very busy Costco in Miami, Florida

Shoppers at a Costco in Miami stock up on water, which was limited to five cases per membership account

Shoppers at Costco in Brooklyn panic buy water, tissues and cleaning products after New York confirmed its first case of coronavirus

Concerned New Yorkers stocked up on masks and hand sanitizer on Monday after officials confirmed the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Manhattan

People gather as street vendor Mike James sells them surgical mask, hand sanitizer and alcohol in Flushing, Queens on Monday

Supermarket shelves are starting to be emptied as people prepare for the spread of coronavirus in New York. Pictured are shoppers on Sunday

In one social media video shoppers were seen stocking up on food at a Costco store in Flushing, Queens, on Sunday

Shoppers were seen in a video posted on Twitter panic-buying at a Chinese supermarket in Flushing, Queens on Sunday

Shoppers rushed to stock-up on essential items at supermarkets across the US. Pictured are customers in New York on Sunday

Empty shelves were seen at some supermarkets in New York as fear of the spread of coronavirus gripped the city

The number of Americans diagnosed with the virus has hit 77 over the weekend, but has now climbed to 86

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US stock markets open higher on Monday

The US stock market opened higher Monday morning after concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak led to the worst week on Wall Street since 2008.

The Dow Jones Industrial average went up 181 points or 0.7 per cent at opening bell, the S&P 500 was up 0.3 per cent, 10 points, while the Nasdaq Composite was 1.2 per cent higher, at the open, up 100 points.

Friday marked seven straight days of losses and the biggest weekly drop since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Mounting concerns about the economic impact of the new coronavirus outbreak had seen some gains in European stock markets wiped out Monday despite hopes of stimulus measures from major central banks.

The sheer scale of losses last week — almost $6 trillion was wiped off world stocks — have led financial markets to price in policy responses from almost every major central bank.

Investors were left reeling after virus fears wiped nearly $3 trillion off the combined market value of S&P 500 companies last week, with the index confirming its fastest correction in history in volatile trading on Thursday.

The coronavirus epidemic, which began in the Chinese province of Hubei, has killed 3,000 people worldwide.

Panic buying in the United States does not yet resembles what Italy witnessed in recent days – where supermarket shelves were stripped bare and videos posted on social media showed consumers coming to blows over bags of pasta.

But there is a growing sense of urgency for people to stock up on staples and to prepare for lengthy home quarantines.

‘I’m buying some flu therapy and pain killers – If I wait until next week there may be nothing left,’ said Dean McKnight, a engineer in Austin, Texas, as he motioned to shelves at the HEB supermarket that were empty of several over-the-counter medications, primarily flu treatment for children.

McKnight worked in Hong Kong and China during the SARS outbreak and knows first-hand the stresses that snowballing fears of a pandemic can cause, but said he is not panicked.

He added: ‘We got an extra month’s worth of inhalers for my wife, but we’re not stocking up on medications or food as if we expect to need to secure several months of supplies right now.’

Panic purchasing has been seen of masks and other personal protective gear. But there is also a looming threat to retail across the board, analysts said.

Several major retailers – including Walmart and Target – stand to see supply chains badly hit by the coronavirus and that could result in some empty store shelves starting in April, Ed Kelly, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote in a research note this month.

Kelly wrote: ‘We believe the time to start worrying about the supply chain risk of 2020-nCoV is here.

‘It’s worth noting that big box players like Target and Walmart could be the first to experience out of stock issues.’

That is because those stores operate on a just-in-time inventory model, and are highly dependent on China, where supply chains have been badly disrupted.

Stockpiling in states like Hawaii and Minnesota was spurred by messages from state health departments urging residents to buy supplies of non-perishable foods, prescription medications and sanitary supplies.

The advice contradicted the message from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC Director Robert Redfield on Thursday told a US congressional hearing that there was no need for healthy Americans to stock up on any supplies.

Robyn Gershon, a clinical professor of epidemiology at New York University, said: ‘We should have one unified message. When there’s an absence of a good, strong and reassuring official voice, people will get more upset and start doing this magical thinking.’

On Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii, retired telecommunications worker Duane Tanouye, 62, waited in line outside a Costco with more than 200 other people.

‘Nobody’s really panicking, but there’s a lot more people than normal,’ Tanouye said by phone.

Stores in Hawaii had begun limiting how much consumers could buy of some products, such as toilet paper, he said.

Why is bitcoin’s price so high?

Bitcoin’s price has risen stratospherically, a fact that leaves many minor players in the market with massive gains and many bigger players millionaires. But is this a bubble? Are the gains real? And are the bitcoin whales in for a sad Christmas?

First we must understand what drives bitcoin price and, in particular, this boom. The common understanding for current growth leads us back to institutional investors preparing for the forthcoming BTC futures exchanges.

The primary theory about the astonishing rally being put forward by investors on social media is that bitcoin will soon benefit from big institutional money injections via the introduction of the first BTC futures products. CBOE Global Markets and CME Group are launching new futures contracts on December 10 and December 17, allowing investors to go long or short on bitcoin. This ability makes bitcoin far more palatable to big investors who are currently flooding the market to make profits if and when the bitcoin price falls.

This move also legitimizes bitcoin in Wall Street’s eyes, an important point considering cryptocurrencies are still suspect.

Further growth comes from the “bitcoin as a store of value” crowd. This group of enthusiasts bought and held bitcoin and will not sell it at any current price. More and more bitcoin fans are entering into this group and they are driving up demand increases. In a world where people expect bitcoin to be worth $1 million soon this sort of activity – whether rational or irrational – is quite popular.

We see a common thread between these points: hype and news. All cryptocurrency movements are based on domain specific media and conversations between traders. Bitcoin traders, it can be said, are now akin to the jolly colonists selling stocks under buttonwood tree. This small but influential market is prone to panics based on a single tweet and users work together to at least bolster themselves with cries of “HODL!” The market is so nascent that there are no dark pools, no popular algorithmic trading systems, and no real way to automate your buying and selling activities (although, without futures, there was never a need to). That is all coming and at that point the market will harden itself against panics and booms. Until then we enjoy rises and dips and volatility that puts most bitcoin dilettantes off their lunch.

Ultimately new and old users are testing the limits of a system that, for a decade, has been untested. The futures market will be a big driver in growth and bust over the next few months as institutional investors begin using the currency. CoinDesk writer Omkar Godbole notes that the price should remain stable but “a pullback to $11,000 cannot be ruled out, but dips below the upward sloping 10-day MA of $11,500 are likely to be short-lived.”

“As of now, a significant correction is unlikely and could be seen only on confirmation of a bearish price-RSI divergence and/or if RSI and stochastic move lower from the overbought territory,” he wrote.

Is this dangerous? Yes, to those who are betting big on BTC. Again, I cannot tell you whether to buy or sell but the common expectation is that bitcoin raises to a set point and then fluctuates between a high and a low until the next run up. Many expect foul play.

“The current price isn’t truly driven by demand. When CME Group went live with Bitcoin futures we saw a sharp increase in demand and an increased number of users in the network,” said Matthew Unger, CEO and Founder of iComplyICO. “Now, some institutional major players are flooding the network with new cash and creating what appears to be market manipulation. Now that Bitcoin futures are available it is easy to buy into futures market first and then create a massive number of buys or sells of Bitcoin to ensure the price swings in favour of your futures contract.”

“In many jurisdictions, Bitcoin has yet to become subject to regulations, leaving an investor with no recourse or protection from fraud or market manipulation,” said Unger.

Is this a bubble? Many are disappointed in the moves, believing the rise is happening because of market manipulation. But we must remember that the real value of a cryptocurrency is not driven by price but instead is driven by utility. While bitcoin may always be the proverbial hidden pot of gold for early buyers the future of all cryptocurrencies is still being written. Just as, in 1994, no one could have predicted the prevalence and value of open source projects like Linux and Apache, no one can currently predict what bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will do for us in the future. Until we know, it’s best to buckle up and enjoy the ride.

‘Buy as much as possible’ – Taiwan sees boon to panic buying

TAIPEI (Reuters) – People in Taiwan were told to buy as much as possible during the coronavirus outbreak, as the island’s premier struck a distinctly different approach to panic buying by advising them there was plenty to go around and it would support the economy.

While Taiwan has only reported 108 cases of the virus, large rises in recent days from people returning from overseas has prompted some people to rush to supermarkets to stock up, even as the government says there is no need to panic and it will punish hoarding and profiteering.

Writing on his Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) page late on Thursday in a post entitled “Buy as much as possible, there’s plenty of goods”, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said it was the ideal opportunity to buy more Taiwanese products in a boon for the economy.

“Taiwan is a kingdom of fruits, a kingdom of fisheries, and a big food processing country. During the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic, as the economy is slowing down, of course the government encourages everyone to enthusiastically buy,” he wrote.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Su said there were lots of supplies in Taiwan, including of toilet paper which has sold out in many countries.

“If people aren’t spending outside and want to cook for themselves at home, buy more vegetables and fruit, buy more Taiwanese agricultural products, cheer on the farmers. This is a great thing,” he said, adding that the island’s farmers would welcome the support.

Su is well-known for his wry sense of humour.

During a brief toilet paper panic last month, he called for calm saying people “only have one butt-hole,” to widespread amusement across the island.

Export-reliant Taiwan’s economy has been buffeted by the virus. On Thursday the central bank cut interest rates for the first time in more than four years to a new low and shaved its outlook for economic growth this year to 1.92% from 2.57% forecasted in December.

The government is also rolling out a T$60 billion ($1.98 billion) stimulus package.

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