Crossing below the $9,000 price level is a new low for February 2020. Bitcoin has not traded below the $9,000 threshold since Jan. 27, when it began a march to new highs in the $10,500 range.
At around 13:00 UTC, bitcoin’s (BTC) price began dropping steadily, contributing to a 7 percent slide over the past 24 hours. Exchanges including Coinbase and Bitstamp saw declines in prices from $9,270 to below $8,700.
A flood of sell orders are sinking prices, as Coinbase hourly charts over the past 24 hours show.
The sharp bitcoin drop comes as the traditional financial markets are recovering from a major selloff. In the U.S., the S&P 500 is off 5. 5 percent since the start of the week on fear the coronavirus could slow the global economy. Equities recovered a bit Wednesday, with the index showing a modest gain of half a percent by the midday.
The traditional safe haven, gold, has been relatively steady. Its price has stayed in the $1,600 range so far this week and made a small gain Wednesday, up over $6 to $1,641 per troy ounce at press time.
“The fact that BTC could not rally in the face of the advance by gold prices and drop in equities was a ‘tell,’’” professional commodities trader Peter Brandt wrote in a recent tweet.
Other notable cryptocurrencies are also down, including bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH) and XRP (XRP), with 24-hour losses of 11 percent, 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively, on Wednesday at 17:45 UTC.