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Yen Tumbles to New Low on BOJ Comments

Started by PocketOption, Feb 20, 2024, 06:25 pm

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Yen Tumbles to New Low on BOJ Comments

Overview: The dollar is narrowly mixed against most
of the G10 currencies as it continues to consolidate its recent gains. The yen is the notable exception, and
it was sold today, not in response to developments in the US Treasury market, a
frequent driver, but in response to comments by a deputy governor of the central bank,
suggesting a rate adjustment would not necessarily signal the start of a
tightening cycle, which some economists expected. Emerging market currencies
are also mostly narrowly mixed. Central European currencies are firmer, even
the Czech koruna, ahead of what is expected to be the second cut in the cycle
that began in December. More deflation readings from China did the yuan no
favors, but the yen's weakness may have weighed on it, ahead of the long
holiday celebration. India's central bank stood pat, and the rupee is flat. The
Mexican peso is little changed ahead of the CPI report and the central bank
meeting later today. 

The weaker yen and BOJ comments
helped lift the Nikkei by 2% today and it is now up over 10% this year. China's
shares were higher too. Hong Kong and India, among the large markets, traded
heavily. Europe's Stoxx 600 is recouping yesterday's 0.25% loss and bank shares
have steadied after falling 1.4% yesterday. US index futures are narrowly
mixed. The 10-year JGB yield slipped back below 0.70%, while benchmark yields
in Europe are little changed. The 10-year US Treasury yield is up slightly at
4.11%. Ahead of today's final leg of the quarterly refunding, the 30-year yield
is up a basis point to 4.33%. Gold is quietly hovering around $2029-$2039.
March WTI is trading at a new high for the week near $74.40. It is the third
session of higher highs after bottoming on Monday near $71.40.

Asia Pacific

Seemingly under-appreciated
by many observers who continue to make gratuitous references to Japan's export
prowess, the world's third-largest economy has run trade deficits for the past
three years. 
It also
recorded trade deficits in the two years before Covid. That said, for only the
third time since July 2021, Japan reported a monthly trade surplus in December
(~JPY69 bln or ~$470 mln). On the balance of payments basis, which was reported
today, a larger surplus was recorded (~JPY115.5 bln). On this basis, it was the
fourth monthly surplus since October 2021. Nevertheless, Japan's current
account surplus is substantial near 3.5% of GDP in 2023 and near pre-Covid
proportionality. And despite the trade surplus, the current account surplus
narrowed in December, as it has done for the past 11 Decembers.

China remains in deflation. Consumer prices fell on a
year-over-year basis for the fourth consecutive month. The 0.8% decline in
January was more than expected and follows a 0.3% decline in December. Yet, to
simply roll out the trope about weak demand seems to underappreciate that
retail sales rose 7.2% in nominal terms on a year-over-year basis in 2023.
Weakness in retail sales -0.2% in 2022) was an issue, and it followed a 12.5%
increase in 2021. Goods price deflation (-1.7%) is evident in China and
elsewhere. Services prices are 0.5% higher than a year ago. Outside of the
widely experienced goods deflation, food prices are the main deflationary
headwind, and weak demand is a less satisfying answer. Food prices are off
nearly 6% from a year ago. This is about supply. Non-food prices rose by 0.4%
year-over-year. The core rate, which excludes food and energy, remains positive
since a brief dip into deflation territory in January 2021. It rose by 0.4%.
Still, it has not been above 1% since March 2022. In January, consumer prices
rose by 0.3% after a 0.1% increase in December. Producer prices are a different
story. Deflation forces have gripped producer goods since Q4 22. The
year-over-year decline has been 2.5% and 3.0% in the last four months. In
January, producer prices were 2.5% lower than a year ago, after falling by 0.2%
in the month.

The dollar's range against
the yen yesterday was set in the first couple of hours of the North American
session, roughly JPY147.65-JPY148.25.
With little impetus coming from the flattish Treasury market,
despite a healthy reception to the large ($42 bln) 10-year note sale, which
snapped a string of four consecutive tailed auctions (when the auction produces
a result at a higher yield that what was trading in the when-issued market). However,
today, the dollar was helped by comments by the Deputy Governor of the Bank of
Japan Uchida. He played down the start of a strong tightening cycle even after
the first hike is delivered. This helped lift the greenback to a three-month high above JPY149.00. We had suggested potential toward JPY149.20, but this may not be sufficient.  Above there, the next target may be near JPY149.75, ahead of the psychologically important JPY150 area. The
Australian dollar stalled at $0.6540 yesterday, the halfway mark of its losses
from high seen a little before the US jobs data at the end of last week
It spent little time below $0.6520, but the close was weak. It
is trading with a small downside bias today and has returned to almost $0.6500.
Chart support is not seen until closer to the $0.6480 area. The
greenback has edged up against the Chinese yuan but is holding below the week's
high set on Monday near CNY7.1985.
The PBOC set the dollar's reference rate
at CNY7.1063 (CNY7.1049 yesterday). The average in the Bloomberg survey was
CNY7.1919 (CNY7.1858 yesterday). The mainland market will be closed tomorrow
and through next week to celebrate the lunar New Year. One-month implied
volatility for the offshore yuan eased to about 3.5%, the lowest in more than
two months.


China's property market
bubble was purposely popped in 2021. 
The direct global ramifications seem modest as foreign
exposures were limited. The same cannot be said of the US commercial real
estate market. Earlier this month, Japan's Aozora bank attributed its first
loss in 15 years to bad loans in the US property market. A two-day decline
erased 33% of its value last week. Warning of refinancing risk in the US
commercial real estate market, Deutsche Bank increased its provisions for
losses stemming from the US commercial real estate market by four-fold. Yesterday,
Deutsche Pfandbriedbank bonds came under pressure due to US real estate
exposure, for which it increased loss provisions. In the Global Financial
Crisis, German Landesbanks were a weak link due to their exposures to the US
subprime market. US Treasury Secretary Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee
on Tuesday that losses stemming from the commercial real estate are worrisome,
but opined the problem was manageable. The market seemed less convinced. The
KBW regional bank share index for the third consecutive session yesterday,
bringing the weekly losses to about 3.5% after tumbling 7.2% last week. The
European bank share index slipped by slightly less than 0.5% last week and is
off about 2% this week.

The euro extended its
recovery after trading slightly below $1.0725 on Monday and Tuesday and reached
almost $1.0785 in early North American dealings yesterday and has risen to
almost $1.0790 today.
euro's upticks are not yet impressive enough to give confidence that a low of
some importance is in place. It has stalled in front of the (38.2%) retracement
of the Friday-Monday sell-off (~ $1.0790). We suspect that the euro needs to
rise above the $1.0835 area to lift the tone. Sterling spent most of
yesterday back into the $1.26-$1.28 trading range that has dominated the
activity in recent weeks after breaking to the downside on Monday. 
approached the (50%) retracement objective near $1.2645 of the sell-off from
last pre-jobs data high (~$1.2770) and is holding below there today. Sterling
is in a narrow quarter-cent range below $1.2640 today. The next retracement is
closer to $1.2675 and the 20-day moving average is near $1.2685. 


In addition to monitoring
the performance of regional US banks, market participants will take note of two
other developments today. 
First, weekly initial jobless claims have risen for the past two
weeks and at 224k in late January, are the highest since last August. They have
not risen for more than two consecutive weeks in more than three months. The
median forecast in Bloomberg's survey anticipates a small decline (and in
continuing claims). Second, today is the last and most challenging leg of the
Treasury's quarterly refunding, $25 bln 30-year bonds. That is an increase of
$4 bln. Last month's sale generated a bid-cover of 2.37, slightly below the
December outcome. The yield was about 4.23% and the yield is not 5-6 bp higher.
The reception seems to rest on investors desire to extend duration. Lastly, 11
Fed officials have spoken this week and despite the different voices, the signal
that the Fed is in no hurry to cut interest rates remains intact. The odds of a
March cut remain downgraded to less than a 1-in-4 chance, and the odds of a May
cut (~90%) are virtually unchanged from the end of last week. Many Fed watchers
look for discord, hidden by the absence of dissents but without splitting
hairs, it is tough to find it in this week's speeches Richmond Fed President
Barkin, a voting member of the FOMC this year, appears on Bloomberg TV shortly,
and then speaks at the Economic Club of New York near midday. Barkin spoke
yesterday. He is very much part of the consensus that sees rate cuts being
appropriate "as the economy normalizes and inflation's downward path
becomes more certain. 

Mexico is center stage
Shortly, it
will report January CPI, and then, later today, the central bank meets.
Headline CPI likely rose for the third consecutive month. It bottomed in
October near 4.25% and finished last year around 4.65%. The median forecast in
Bloomberg's survey sees it headed toward 4.90%. Food and energy are the main
culprits, without which inflation likely slowed. Core CPI has fallen
consistently since January 2023 when it rose to 8.45% from 8.35% at the end of
2022. It likely slowed below 5% last month. Moreover, the core rate is likely
to slip below the headline rate for the first time since September 2022. A
slowing economy and moderating price pressures will likely allow the central
bank to cut rates but not quite yet, though several central banks in the region
(Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru) have already extended the easing cycle that
began last year. Peru's central bank meets today, and it is expected to deliver
its sixth consecutive quarter-point cut. Next month, Banxico meets on March 21,
the day after the FOMC meeting concludes. At most, we suspect, the officials
will soften their rhetoric to pave the ground for a cut next month. Before the
meeting, officials will see February CPI and more real sector data for Q1 24.
The economy practically stalled in Q4 23, eking out 0.1% quarter-over-quarter
growth. Economists (Bloomberg survey) sees the Mexican economy growing by
0.4%-0.5% for the next six quarters.

The recent price action
reinforces the significance of the CAD1.3535-45 cap for the US dollar.
It stalled there (twice) last month and
that is where it stalled earlier this week. The greenback reached nearly
CAD1.3450 yesterday to briefly trade below the 20-day moving average
(~CAD1.3455) and approach the halfway point (~CAD1.3450) of the rally from last
week's low near CAD1.3360. A marginal new low has been set today but the
exchange rate is practically flat in the European morning. The next retracement
(61.8%) is by CAD1.3430. Canada's January employment report tomorrow may spur
some last-minute position adjustments today. The Mexican peso traded
quietly ahead of today's events.
The greenback found support near MXN17.00,
and it has not closed above its five-day moving average (now ~MXN17.08) in the
past five sessions. The momentum indicators are trending lower, and the
five-day moving average has fallen back below the 20-day moving average, we
think it is still a crowded trade (long Mexico) and suspect the US dollar
recovers ahead of the weekend.


Source: Yen Tumbles to New Low on BOJ Comments