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    Japanese Yen sticks to post-CPI gains against USD, not out of the woods yet

    Source Fxstreet
    Feb 27, 2024 01:50
    • The Japanese Yen attracts some buyers following the release of consumer inflation figures from Japan.
    • The USD hangs near a multi-week low amid sliding US bond yields and also exerts pressure on USD/JPY.
    • The downside seems limited ahead of this week’s key US macro releases, including the PCE Price Index.

    The Japanese Yen (JPY) strengthens a bit against its American counterpart during the Asian session on Tuesday and reverses a part of the previous day's losses back closer to the YTD low touched earlier this month. Consumer inflation in Japan fell slightly less than expected in January and fuelled speculations about a near-term pivot by the Bank of Japan (BoJ). This, along with a generally softer tone around the equity markets, turn out to be key factors providing a modest lift to the safe-haven JPY amid fears that Japanese authorities will intervene in the market to prop up the domestic currency.

    The US Dollar (USD), on the other hand, continues with its struggle to attract any meaningful buying and remains well within the striking distance of a multi-week low touched last Thursday. This further contributes to the offered tone surrounding the USD/JPY pair, though the downtick lacks follow-through amid growing acceptance that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will keep interest rates higher for longer. Traders might also prefer to wait for this week's key US macro releases, including the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index on Thursday, before placing fresh directional bets.

    Daily Digest Market Movers: Japanese Yen gets a minor lift in the wake of hopes for a BoJ pivot

    • The slightly higher-than-expected rates of inflation in Japan revived bets for an imminent shift in the Bank of Japan's policy stance and offers some support to the Japanese Yen.
    • Japan's Statistics Bureau reported on Tuesday that the headline CPI rose by 0.1% MoM in January, though decelerated from the 2.6% YoY rate to 2.2% during the reported month.
    • Additional details of the report showed that the Core CPI, which excludes volatile fresh food items, climbed 2% YoY in January as compared to estimates for a 1.8% annual gain.
    • Furthermore, an underlying CPI reading that excludes both fresh food and energy slowed from the 3.7% YoY rate in December to 3.5%, or an 11-month low in January.
    • Meanwhile, the slowdown in inflation comes on top of an unexpected recession in Japan during the fourth quarter and allows the BoJ to stick to its ultra-loose policy.
    • The US Dollar languishes near its lowest level since February 2 touched amid a softer tone surrounding the US Treasury bond yields and weighs on the USD/JPY pair.
    • The markets recently pushed back expectations for the first rate cut by the Federal Reserve to June from May in the wake of sticky inflation and a resilient US economy.
    • Kansas City Fed President Jeffrey Schmid said that the US central bank should be patient and wait for convincing evidence that the inflation fight has been won.
    • Traders, however, seem reluctant to place aggressive bets and prefer to wait for more cues about the likely timing and the pace of interest rate cuts by the US central bank.
    • The market focus remains glued to the release of the US Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index on Thursday, which could provide a fresh impetus to the USD.
    • Traders on Tuesday will confront the release of US Durable Goods Orders, the Conference Board's US Consumer Confidence Index and the Richmond Manufacturing Index.

    Technical Analysis: USD/JPY bulls need to wait for move beyond 150.85-90 before placing fresh bets

    From a technical perspective, the near-term bias still seems tilted in favour of bullish traders, though it will be prudent to wait for some follow-through buying beyond the multi-month peak, around the 150.85-150.90 region, before positioning for further gains. Given that oscillators on the daily chart are holding comfortably in the positive territory and are still away from being in the overbought zone, the USD/JPY pair might then climb to the 151.45 hurdle. The momentum could extend towards the 152.00 neighbourhood, or a multi-decade peak set in October 2022 and retested in November 2023.

    On the flip side, any meaningful pullback is likely to find decent support near the 150.00 psychological mark. This is followed by last week's swing low, around the 149.70-149.65 region, which if broken could drag the USD/JPY pair further towards the 149.35-149.30 horizontal support. The downward trajectory could extend further towards the 149.00 mark en route to the 148.80-148.70 strong horizontal resistance breakpoint. The latter should act as a key pivotal point, which if broken decisively will negate the near-term positive outlook and pave the way for a further depreciating move.

    Japanese Yen price today

    The table below shows the percentage change of Japanese Yen (JPY) against listed major currencies today. Japanese Yen was the weakest against the US Dollar.

    USD   0.02% 0.06% 0.03% 0.08% -0.02% 0.11% 0.05%
    EUR -0.02%   0.03% 0.00% 0.06% -0.03% 0.07% 0.03%
    GBP -0.05% -0.04%   -0.03% 0.03% -0.07% 0.04% -0.01%
    CAD -0.03% -0.02% 0.01%   0.01% -0.06% 0.07% 0.01%
    AUD -0.07% -0.06% -0.03% -0.06%   -0.10% 0.02% -0.04%
    JPY 0.02% 0.05% 0.08% 0.04% 0.10%   0.10% 0.06%
    NZD -0.12% -0.07% -0.06% -0.08% -0.03% -0.14%   -0.03%
    CHF -0.04% -0.02% 0.01% -0.02% 0.04% -0.06% 0.05%  

    The heat map shows percentage changes of major currencies against each other. The base currency is picked from the left column, while the quote currency is picked from the top row. For example, if you pick the Euro from the left column and move along the horizontal line to the Japanese Yen, the percentage change displayed in the box will represent EUR (base)/JPY (quote).

    Japanese Yen FAQs

    What key factors drive the Japanese Yen?

    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.

    How do the decisions of the Bank of Japan impact the Japanese Yen?

    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.

    How does the differential between Japanese and US bond yields impact the Japanese Yen?

    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.

    How does broader risk sentiment impact 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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