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Bitcoin Pullback to $66K Triggers $250M in Crypto Liquidations as Traders Brace for ‘Wild Wednesday’ of FOMC, CPI Report

Cryptocurrencies plunged deeper into correction territory on Tuesday, with bitcoin (BTC) dropping to nearly $66,000. This comes as traders brace for Wednesday’s key U.S. inflation report and Federal Reserve meeting.

Bitcoin (BTC) started the day trading around $70,000 but fell to a three-week low of $66,170 during the U.S. session. It slightly rebounded to approximately $66,500 but remained down nearly 5% over the past 24 hours.

Altcoins experienced even steeper declines, with the CryptoX 20 Index dropping over 6%, and all twenty constituents in the red. Ethereum’s ether (ETH) fell below $3,500, down 6.5%, while solana (SOL), dogecoin (DOGE), Cardano’s ADA, and Chainlink’s LINK suffered losses between 6%-9%.

The sudden pullback led to over $250 million in liquidations of leveraged derivatives trading positions across all crypto assets, according to CoinGlass data. This marked the second significant leverage flush in a week, following Friday’s $400 million liquidations. Liquidations occur when an exchange closes a leveraged position due to a partial or total loss of the trader’s initial margin because the user fails to meet the margin requirements or lacks sufficient funds to keep the position open.

One reason behind the pullback is investors “de-risking” from crypto assets ahead of Wednesday’s May Consumer Price Index (CPI) report and Federal Reserve meeting, hedge fund QCP noted in an update. Bitcoin could see a volatile session on Wednesday as it has been “highly responsive” to economic data recently, with its 30-day correlation with U.S. equities climbing to the highest level since 2022, K33 Research mentioned in a Tuesday market update.

“The stage is set for a frantic macro-Wednesday, with both May CPI data and the Fed’s interest rate decision poised to move the market,” K33 analysts said. Investors will closely monitor the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members’ interest rate outlook – the so-called “dot plot” – to see how many rate cuts policymakers are projecting for this year, considering recent persistent inflation readings and softer economic data. “The FOMC dot plot, alongside forward guidance during Jerome Powell’s press conference, is likely to be the most material price movers, as BTC has resumed its attentiveness to the market’s interest rate expectations.”

Market observers noted some positive signs during the sell-off that could indicate a quick recovery. Bitcoin has seen multiple pullbacks this year before FOMC meetings, only to reverse the move soon after, pseudonymous crypto analyst Gumshoe pointed out in an X post.

Bitcoin futures open interest on crypto exchanges BitMEX and Binance diverged earlier today, according to crypto analytics platform CryptoQuant, citing pseudonymous trader BQYoutube. “Often this kind of phenomenon is seen when whales on BitMEX start to accumulate positions while Binance retail gets washed out,” the post added. “Despite short-term headwinds, we think this might be a good opportunity to accumulate coin,” QCP said.

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