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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Bitcoin rebounds to $15,000 as investors find a bottom, for now

The digital currency has slumped about 23 per cent from its record $19,511 reached on Dec 18

Bitcoin appeared to find a bottom Friday, rebounding to US$15,000 after moves by South Korea to curb speculation and protect retail customers took the cryptocurrency down more than 8 per cent yesterday.

Bitcoin was up almost 8 per cent to US$15,032 as of 2:16 p.m. Hong Kong time, composite Bloomberg pricing showed. The digital currency has slumped about 23 per cent from its record $19,511 reached on Dec 18, when the CME Group introduced its futures contract. While bitcoin’s debut on regulated derivatives exchanges in Chicago was thought to have given it a new mainstream channel for investors to tap, so far trading volume has been limited.

"Short-term support is about $13,500 -- we’ve hit that the last couple of trading sessions," Chris Gersch, director of strategy at Bell Curve Capital LP in Chicago, said on Bloomberg Television. "Ultimately I think it moves lower and tests last week’s lows around $12,400 in the futures contract," he said, referring to the CME’s version.

The South Korean government has been among the loudest voices of concern about a possible speculative bubble in the largest cryptocurrency, which is still up about 1,500 per cent for the year. The country is something of a bellwether for global demand, with South Koreans paying premiums about 20 percent over prevailing international rates as of Friday.