The market mood is mixed as optimism about falling UK covid cases contrasts worries about the US and a new Chinese techlash. Bitcoin is benefiting from fresh speculation. Investors are eyeing several data points and awaiting the Fed decision.

UK coronavirus cases dropped for the fifth consecutive day, one week after the country abandoned most restrictions. The successful vaccine rollout seems to be turning the tie against the highly transmissible Delta variant.

In the US, Dr. Anothoni Fauci said that “we are going in the wrong direction” with surging covid cases and added that the high number of unvaccinated people is a problem. He suggested a booster immunization shot could be needed. 

China cracked down on education technology firms, sending EdTech and broader markets lower early on Monday. Beijing’s move comes after removing access to Didi – the “Chinese Uber” – from application stores and other curbs against large companies. 

S&P 500 futures are down on Monday after the index hit record highs on Friday. Apart from the Chinese techlash, investors are cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s decision on Wednesday. The world’s most powerful central bank is grappling with strong growth and higher inflation, against concerns about the virus.

American lawmakers have continued deliberating the bipartisan infrastructure bill over the weekend, hoping to make progress and close the deal as early as Monday. 

Bitcoin soared roughly 10% toward $40,000, carrying other cryptocurrencies higher with it. Ethereum changes hands above $2,300. Speculation that Amazon is venturing into digital assets – following a job post on its site – is cited as the reason for this spike. Last week, BTC received support from cheerleaders Elon Musk Cathy Wood and Jack Dorsey.

EUR/USD is trading under 1.18, marginally higher ahead of IFO’s German Business Climate figures. US New Home Sales are also eyed later in the day. 

AUD/USD is on the back foot amid speculation that Sydney’s lockdown would be extended through September. Most of Australia is under lockdown as covid continues spreading, while the vaccination campaign is struggling to pick up.