Image: AFP

Bitcoin neared $50,000 for the first time on Tuesday, while the dollar declined and hesitant stock traders tracked an anticipated US fiscal stimulus and Covid vaccine developments.

Asia’s main stock indices closed stronger, with Tokyo hitting a 30-year high, while the Dow Jones index was slightly softer in midday trading on Wall Street.

Bitcoin briefly pushed to a record-high of $48,215.83 after winning a huge boost Monday from news that Elon Musk’s Tesla had invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency.

It later eased back to a level near $47,000.

Stocks were helped a bit by expectations of a strong economic rebound once vaccination programmes make more headway, but the optimism was curtailed by delays to a potentially huge US stimulus plan. 

And US President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue bill is now also fuelling global inflation worries, alongside rising oil prices and the prospect of large consumer spending post-lockdowns. 

“The real elephant in the room is what happens if oil prices continue to rise at their current rate,” noted Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK