Japanese Yen sinks below 160.00 against USD, lowest since 1986

Source Fxstreet
Apr 29, 2024 02:23
  • The Japanese Yen dives to a nearly 40-year low amid relatively thin liquidity on Monday.
  • The divergent BoJ-Fed monetary policy and a positive risk tone weigh heavily on the JPY.
  • Intervention fears cap USD/JPY amid a modest USD downtick and overbought conditions.

The Japanese Yen (JPY) remains under heavy selling pressure on the first day of a new week, pushing the USD/JPY pair above the 160.00 psychological mark for the first time since October 1986. A big divergence in the Bank of Japan's policy outlook and hawkish Federal Reserve expectations continue to undermine the JPY amid relatively thin liquidity on the back of a holiday in Japanese markets. That said, extremely overbought conditions and fears about a possible intervention from Japan to prop up its currency help limit further losses. Apart from this, a modest US Dollar (USD) downtick caps gains for the currency pair, though any meaningful JPY appreciation still seems elusive in the wake of the BoJ's uncertain rate outlook. 

Furthermore, the US Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index released on Friday reaffirmed expectations that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will wait until September before cutting interest rates. This should continue to act as a tailwind for the Greenback. Apart from this, a generally positive risk tone could undermine the safe-haven JPY and suggests that the path of least resistance for the USD/JPY pair is to the upside ahead of the crucial two-day FOMC policy meeting starting on Tuesday. Investors this week will also confront the release of important US macro data scheduled at the beginning of a new month, including the closely-watched Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) on Friday before placing fresh directional bets. 

Daily Digest Market Movers: Japanese Yen is undermined by BoJ’s cautious approach towards further policy tightening

The Japanese Yen plummets to a fresh multi-decade low during the Asian session on Monday amid a big divergence in the Bank of Japan's policy outlook and hawkish Federal Reserve expectations, though intervention fears cap gains. 
As was widely anticipated, the BoJ left its short-term interest rates unchanged on Friday and indicated that inflation was on track to hit the 2% target in coming years, suggesting its readiness to hike borrowing costs later this year.
In the post-meeting press conference, BoJ Governor Kazuo Ueda offered few clues on when the next rate hike will come and ruled out shifting to a full-fledged reduction in the bond purchases, warranting caution for the JPY bulls.
Moreover, the Tokyo Consumer Price Index released on Friday indicated that inflation in Japan is cooling, which, along with a generally positive tone around the equity markets, should cap any meaningful upside for the safe-haven JPY.
Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party lost three key by-election seats, which is not seen as a vote of confidence in Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and argued against him being reappointed at the end of the term in September. 
The US Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index rose 0.3% in March, while the yearly rate climbed to 2.7% from 2.5% in February, beating estimates for a reading of 2.6%.
Adding to this, the core PCE Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, held steady at the 2.8% YoY rate as compared to 2.6% anticipated, reaffirming bets that the Federal Reserve will keep rates higher for longer.
According to the CME Group's FedWatch tool, investors are now pricing in a 58% chance that the Fed will begin its rate-cutting cycle in September, down from 68% a week ago, and a more than 80% possibility of easing in December. 
This suggests that the wide gap in rates between Japan and the United States will remain for some time, which, along with a positive risk tone, should cap the upside for the safe-haven JPY and lend support to the USD/JPY pair. 
Investors now look forward to this week's key central bank event risk – a two-day FOMC monetary policy meeting starting on Tuesday and the closely-watched US Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) report – for a fresh directional impetus.

Technical Analysis: USD/JPY looks to build on Friday’s ascending channel breakout, overbought RSI warrants caution

From a technical perspective, Friday's breakout through an upward-sloping trend channel extending from the YTD low was seen as a fresh trigger for bullish traders. That said, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) on the daily chart is flashing extremely overbought conditions, which makes it prudent to wait for some near-term consolidation or a modest pullback before positioning for further gains. That said, any meaningful slide below the 159.00 mark is likely to attract fresh buyers near the 158.35-158.30 region and remain limited near the 158.00 mark. A convincing break below, however, might prompt some technical selling and drag the USD/JPY pair back towards the ascending channel resistance breakpoint near the 157.00 round figures. Bulls, meanwhile, will remain wary of placing fresh bets amid fears that Japanese authorities will intervene near the 160.00 pivotal point.

Japanese Yen FAQs

The Japanese Yen (JPY) is one of the world’s most traded currencies. Its value is broadly determined by the performance of the Japanese economy, but more specifically by the Bank of Japan’s policy, the differential between Japanese and US bond yields, or risk sentiment among traders, among other factors.

One of the Bank of Japan’s mandates is currency control, so its moves are key for the Yen. The BoJ has directly intervened in currency markets sometimes, generally to lower the value of the Yen, although it refrains from doing it often due to political concerns of its main trading partners. The current BoJ ultra-loose monetary policy, based on massive stimulus to the economy, has caused the Yen to depreciate against its main currency peers. This process has exacerbated more recently due to an increasing policy divergence between the Bank of Japan and other main central banks, which have opted to increase interest rates sharply to fight decades-high levels of inflation.

The BoJ’s stance of sticking to ultra-loose monetary policy has led to a widening policy divergence with other central banks, particularly with the US Federal Reserve. This supports a widening of the differential between the 10-year US and Japanese bonds, which favors the US Dollar against the Japanese Yen.

The Japanese Yen is often seen as a safe-haven investment. This means that in times of market stress, investors are more likely to put their money in the Japanese currency due to its supposed reliability and stability. Turbulent times are likely to strengthen the Yen’s value against other currencies seen as more risky to invest in.

 

Disclaimer: For information purposes only. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
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