- Bitcoin appears on track to end April on a positive note for the fourth consecutive year. The cryptocurrency is currently up 27 percent on a month-to-date basis.
- Increasing that monthly gain look unlikely, as the bulls will likely have a hard time forcing a convincing break above multiple resistance levels lined up in $5,200–$5,300 range.
- Prices may fall back below $5,100 in the next few hours, as the hourly chart relative strength index (RSI) has diverged in favor of the bears.
Bitcoin (BTC) looks set to end April in the green for the fourth consecutive year, having confirmed a longer-term bull breakout earlier this month.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is currently trading at $5,200 on Bitstamp, representing a 27 percent gain on the month’s opening price of $4,092. BTC previously rallied 8, 26, and 33 percent in the fourth month of 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The sharp rise seen this month seems to have put the bulls in a commanding position for a long haul. The cryptocurrency has violated the most basic of all bearish technical patterns – the lower highs, lower lows – with a convincing move above $4,236.
Prices have also found acceptance above the 200-day moving average (MA), currently at $4,520, for the first time since March 2018, a sign of a bull market.
These gains look sustainable, too, courtesy of a sharp rise in trading volumes. For instance, 24-hour trading volume across all exchanges jumped to a 15-month high of $22.89 billion on April 3 – the day BTC solidified the bull breakout with a move above $5,000.
As a result, a drop all the way back to the monthly opening price of $4,092 on or before April 30 looks unlikely.
- Bitcoin has posted April gains in five out of the last seven years.
- The cryptocurrency gained 45 percent in the fourth month of 2013, its biggest April gain on record.
That record will likely stay intact, as BTC may have a tough time finding acceptance above multiple key resistance levels lined up above $5,200 in the short-run.
Monthly and weekly charts
As seen above (left), the 21-month exponential moving average (EMA) served as strong support in five months to October 2018. Further, a downside break of the line in November was followed by a sell-off to lows near $3,100 by December.
As a result, the 21-month EMA, currently at $5,237, is the level to beat for the bulls. Forcing a break higher, however, could be a tough task with short-term technical indicators reporting overbought conditions.
Other bearish technical lines located near the 21-month EMA could also keep the gains under check. For instance, the descending (still bearish) 10-month and 50-week MAs are located at $5,180 and $5,546, respectively. While the three-day chart’s 100-candle MA, currently at $5,239, is also proving a tough nut to crack, as discussed yesterday.
Usually, such a strong band of key resistance lines is breached after multiple attempts. So, the probability of BTC extending gains before the month end appears low.
In fact, the cryptocurrency may end the current month with lesser gains if the price finds acceptance below the crucial support at $4,912.
BTC closed at $5,190 on April 3, confirming a falling channel breakout on the weekly chart. A similar looking pattern in 2015 paved way for a three-year bull run.
So far, however, the follow-through to that longer-term bullish breakout has been discouraging.
Notably, the cryptocurrency witnessed two-way business last week before ending on a flat note. The resulting doji candle is indicative of indecision among the bulls.
That buyer exhaustion would gain credence, inviting stronger selling pressure, if the cryptocurrency closes (UTC) below $4,912 (doji’s low) this Sunday. A bearish close, if confirmed, could yield a deeper pullback to levels below $4,600.
As for today, BTC may fall back to levels below $5,100, according to shorter-duration technical charts.
An hourly close below the channel support, currently at $5,200 would validate the bearish divergence of the relative strength index (RSI) and fuel a drop to $5,100 and below.
The bearish divergence of the RSI would be invalidated if the price finds acceptance above the upper edge of the channel, currently at $5,250.
Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.
Bitcoin image via Shutterstock; charts by Trading View