Business

Bitcoin hits 18-month high at $17,600

LONDON : Bitcoin jumped to an 18-month high yesterday, a surge analysts said was caused by nervous traders looking for safety in alternative investments and expectations that Facebook's Libra could turn cryptocurrencies mainstream.

The world's biggest cryptocurrency has surged in value since April and was trading close to US$13,000 (S$17,600) yesterday.

It is now up 240 per cent since the start of the year, although it remains below its all-time high of nearly US$20,000. Investors have flooded back into digital currencies after a bruising last year.

Bitcoin has risen for eight consecutive days.

And now Facebook has said it would offer its own cryptocurrency, the Libra coin, by end of June 2020.

Analysts have said Facebook's announcement this month has revived interest in coins, while investors seeking safety have also pushed up Bitcoin's price.

"It obviously does appear to be benefiting from some sort of flows that gold is benefiting too," said CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael Hewson. "You've got all this stuff about Libra going on, which is renewing interest in bitcoin. Crypto is back in vogue."

With major central banks keeping interest rates near all-time lows, investors have been looking for ways to diversify their portfolios, including through cryptocurrenies, analysts have said.- REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE