The potential for war is generally a bearish signal for investors, and the recent strike on Iranian leader and military commander Qasem Soleimani is no different. Investors see the geopolitical climate as tense, injecting uncertainty into the market. Could Bitcoin serve as a safe-haven?
The attack has caused concern that Iran might retaliate, causing continued destabilization in the Middle East. On the possibility, oil prices jumped sharply, and stocks sold off, as investors took profits from the recent bull activity.
Investors Pulling Back
This market fear has a number of sources. For starters, the market had already posted strong gains in the fourth quarter. The S&P500 saw a remarkable 8.5% growth, and Treasury yields rose as well.
With profits being made, many investors saw the US/Iranian tension as an excellent exit point. Stock pullbacks were minor, with the S&P losing .7% on Friday to end the week down .2%.
Nevertheless, the movement indicates a desire for safe-haven investments during times of crisis. Gold and safe-haven currencies both increased, as well as commodities.
Much depends on the jobs report from December, scheduled for release this week. The prediction of 160,000 new jobs would meet expectations, but lower numbers could have an impact.
Bitcoin Riding the Wave?
Bitcoin also responded to the events, but within the gain and loss that the market has seen this year. Thursday and Friday saw increases nearing 4%. The movement out of stocks could potentially result in gains for Bitcoin.
While some have argued that Bitcoin is only speculative, others suggest that it could function as a store of value. Value during times of economic uncertainty is best kept ‘off the grid,’ so to speak. Gold and precious metals move funds outside of economic turmoil.
However, Bitcoin also functions outside of geopolitical concerns, much like gold. Because Bitcoin can function globally, without concern for political concerns, fluctuations and strife have little effect.
While the market may continue booming, a sell-off could lead investors into Bitcoin. A lower job report could create a strong surge to pursue other investment vehicles. Bitcoin could ride that wave into the spring.