Live news updates: Singapore’s central bank deflects crypto controversies

Bitcoin prices rallied above $22,000 on Tuesday, as expectations of aggressive interest rate increases from the US Federal Reserve ebbed, stoking sentiment in the highly volatile cryptocurrency market.

The most popular crypto gained as much as 6.8 per cent to hit a high of $22,954.36 per coin, its highest price since June 14, the day lender Celsius Network paused withdrawals amid a digital assets market rout.

Asia-Pacific equity markets mostly followed the US lower, however, as fears over lockdowns in China outweighed the easing of concern over interest rates.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed as much as 1.2 per cent and China’s CSI 300 fell 0.7 per cent. Japan’s Topix gained 0.8 per cent.

Japanese investment bank Nomura said on Monday that as many as 41 Chinese cities were under full or partial lockdowns or district-based controls.

A health worker takes a swab sample in Shanghai © Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

The restrictions cover 264mn people in regions that account for about 18.7 per cent of the country’s economic activity, a deterioration from a week ago when just 31 cities were subject to such curbs.

On Monday, US stocks gave up early gains after reports about slowing spending at tech group Apple reignited concerns about a potential recession.

The S&P 500, which had risen as much as 1 per cent earlier in the day, swung to a 0.8 per cent decline. The Nasdaq Composite also slid 0.8 per cent.

Oil prices were also dented by China’s lockdown fears on Tuesday, with international benchmark Brent crude losing 0.2 per cent to trade at $106.03 a barrel and US marker West Texas Intermediate down 0.2 per cent to hit $102.45.