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USD/JPY – Insight on the Dollar-Yen Forex Pair

A Report by CYS Global Remit Counterparty Sales & Alliance Unit 

The USD/JPY currency pair, also known as the Dollar-Yen pair, stands as a cornerstone of the forex market, reflecting the economic dynamics between two global powerhouses, the United States of America and Japan. As one of the most traded currency pairs globally, it reflects the economic and geopolitical dynamics between the United States and Japan. Understanding the intricacies of trading USD/JPY requires insight into various factors influencing its movements, ranging from economic indicators to geopolitical events. 


USD/JPY Starting the Week Strong 


USD/JPY climbed upwards last week, trading higher as compared to recent weeks, as supported by increasing United States (U.S.) Treasury yields, with the U.S. bond prices trading above 4.20%. Markets are switching their focus on a series of data releases that has the potential to significantly impact the direction of the USD/JPY. 


Tokyo’s inflation report, a leading indicator for Japan’s overall price trends, starts the ball rolling. It is expected that the core Consumer Price Index (CPI) will have increased to 2.5% year-on-year in February from the previous 1.6%. This higher than anticipated figure might just be the spark for the Bank of Japan to reconsider its implementation of negative interest rates, potentially favouring the yen. 


Over in the U.S., the release of the ISM services report, measuring business activity for the overall economy, will be a key focus. A modest decline is anticipated by analyst in the February headline Purchasing Managers’ Index from the previous reading of 53.4. With trading expectations likely to be reshaped regarding the policy outlook of the U.S. central bank, any substantial deviation from the forecast will induce volatility in the U.S. dollar. A stronger than expected data will be a boost to the U.S. dollar. 


Fed’s Resolve in Question 


Similarly, to be closely scrutinized will be Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Semi-annual Monetary Report to Congress. His testimony before the House Committee will be closely scrutinized for insights into the timing of the first FOMC rate cut of the cycle. If the Fed’s view persists, that policymakers are ‘in no hurry to east rates’, we can expect the USD/JPY to continue to drift higher in the coming days. 


However, as expected, during his appearance before the House Committee, Powell reiterated the Federal Reserve’s stance that it would not be prudent to consider rate cuts until there is a stronger conviction that inflation is progressing towards the 2% target, suggesting a cautious approach to rate adjustments considering inflationary trends. While Powell’s remarks leaned towards a hawkish tone, these sentiments were not groundbreaking, merely echoing the stance articulated in the previous Central Bank meeting.  


Given the lack of new information, this development was interpreted as a case of “no news is good news.” Consequently, there was little impetus and the bullish sentiment towards to greenback to gain any sort of momentum. This was reflected in a muted response, with investors maintaining a wait-and-see approach amidst ongoing economic uncertainties. 


JPY Emboldened by BoJ Talk 


The JPY was given an encouraging boost via means of an interview during the week, Japan’s deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hideki Murai mentioned that the Japanese economy was showing evidence of the early signs of rising inflation and wages. This sentiment has fuelled market expectations that Japan’s prolonged period of ultra-loose monetary policy may be nearing its end.  


Murai emphasized the need for the transitioning the economy from being one focused on cost reduction to a model where higher growth and wages drive a positive cycle. This shift id gradually taking place, boosting the confidence level in the economy’s trajectory.  

This positive outlook aligns with recent hawkish statements from the Bank of Japan (BoJ), Board member Hajime Takata who suggested that the Central Bank’s target of achieving sustainable inflation of 2% is on the verge of realization. He also emphasized on the need to contemplate a transition away from the extremely accommodative monetary policies of the past, suggesting that the time has come for an adjustment in the BoJ’s approach. Takata further advocated for a nimble and flexible response towards an exit strategy.  


This hawkish verbal intervention impacted the Japanese Yen immediately, as the Yen was driven higher against other currencies. Notably, the USD/JPY experienced a significant decline, falling to a near two-week low as the market reacted to Takata’s remarks.  


The BoJ has notably stood out among its counterparts by actively pursuing inflationary policies while others have focused on combating inflationary pressures. This persistent effort to stimulate inflation has always been a distinct characteristic of its monetary policy approach. 


However, recent indications hinting at a potential shift in the BoJ’s stance to align more closely with other central banks have prompted market reactions, notably strengthening the Japanese Yen. The prospect of the BoJ adopting a more conventional monetary policy strategy, has been meet with market interest and has contributed to the appreciation of the Yen. 


What Can We Expect? 


The USD/JPY pair extended its recent losses, sinking to its lowest level since early February, supported by speculations on both the Fed’s and the BoJ actions. Recent official commentary has also added weight to this resistance level, making it even more challenging to breach.  


Developments with the BoJ are being closely monitored, with a particular interest of any signals that suggests a departure from its unconventional policy measures. Such a major shift in monetary policy dynamics can result in adjustments in exchange rates as the market expectations are being recalibrate accordingly. 


As a result, the path of least resistance appears to be towards a potential downside for the USD/JPY pairing. This outlook suggests that the market sentiment is favouring a corrective move in the near term, as the pair grapples with significant resistance barriers. 




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