New data shows how pro traders are positioned as BTC price continues to encounter resistance at $21,000.
Bitcoin (BTC) has been lingering above $20,000 for the past nine days, but worsening conditions from traditional markets are causing traders to doubt if the support will hold.
On Nov. 3, the Bank of England raised interest rates by 75 basis points to 3%, its largest single hike since 1989. The risks of a prolonged recession also increased as the Monetary Policy Committee struggled to contain inflationary pressure.
The U.K. monetary authority noted that its most recent growth and inflation projections present a “very challenging” outlook for the economy. The statement from the committee added that “high energy prices and tighter financial conditions weigh on spending,” thus negatively pressuring the employment data.
The U.S. Federal Reserve also hiked interest rates on Nov. 2, the fourth consecutive raise, which brings rates to the highest levels since January 2008. The confirmation of a conservative approach from central banks can partially explain why Bitcoin failed to break the $21,000 resistance on Oct. 29 and has since declined by 4.5%.
Let’s take a look at derivatives metrics to better understand how professional traders are positioned in the current market conditions.
Options traders are not particularly bullish
The 25% delta skew is a telling sign of when market makers and arbitrage desks are overcharging for upside or downside protection.
In bear markets, options investors give higher odds for a price dump, causing the skew indicator to rise above 10%. On the other hand, bullish markets tend to drive the skew indicator below -10%, meaning the bearish put options are discounted.
Bitcoin 60-day options 25% delta skew: Source: Laevitas
The delta skew had been above the 10% threshold until Oct. 26, signaling that options traders were less inclined to offer downside protection. A more balanced situation emerged, but the $21,000 resistance test on Oct. 29 was not enough to instill confidence in option traders.
Currently, the 60-day delta skew stands at 6%, so whales and market makers are pricing similar odds of rallies and price dumps. However, other data is showing low confidence as BTC approaches the $20,000 support.
Leverage buyers ignored the recent rally
The long-to-short metric excludes externalities that might have solely impacted the options markets. It also gathers data from exchange clients’ positions on the spot, perpetual and quarterly futures contracts, thus offering better information on how professional traders are positioned.
There are occasional methodological discrepancies between different exchanges, so readers should monitor changes instead of absolute figures.
Exchanges’ top traders Ether long-to-short ratio. Source: Coinglass
Even though Bitcoin rallied 9% from Oct. 22 to Oct. 29, professional traders slightly reduced their leverage long positions, according to the long-to-short indicator.
For instance, the ratio for Binance traders improved somewhat from the 1.25 start, but then finished the period below its starting level at 1.22. Meanwhile, Huobi displayed a modest decrease in its long-to-short ratio, with the indicator moving from 1.03 to 1.00 in the seven days until Oct. 29.
At crypto exchange OKX, the metric slightly decreased from 1.01 on Oct. 22 to 0.94 on Oct. 29. This means that on average, traders were not confident enough to add leverage to bullish positions.
The $20,000 support is weak, but traders are not bearish
These two derivatives metrics — options skew and long-to-short — suggest that the 4.5% Bitcoin price correction since the $21,000 test on Oct. 29 was backed by a moderate level of distrust from leverage buyers.
A more optimistic sentiment would have caused the 60-day delta skew to enter the negative range and possibly have pushed the long-to-short ratio to higher levels. It is important to note that even pro traders can misinterpret the market, but the present reading from the derivatives market favors a weak $20,000 support.
From an optimistic perspective, there is no indication that pro traders expect a negative move. Basically, nothing changes even if the price revisits the $19,000 range because 50 days have passed since Bitcoin last traded above $22,000.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.