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The USD/JPY retreated on Wednesday from Monday’s highs of 125.1, its highest level since 2015, falling to the 121.3 level. If the USD/JPY rises again, resistance may be found at the 2015 high of 125.8. If the USD/JPY declines, support might be found at 114.8 and further down at 113.4.
The dollar lost ground in the past couple of days, as reports of a potential de-escalation of the Russia – Ukraine crisis have put pressure on the safe-haven dollar. The yen is also considered a safe-haven currency but has not been affected as much as other safe-haven assets by the crisis in Ukraine, and many investors have been doubting its safe-haven status.
In the past few months, the Yen has been affected primarily by the BOJ’s fiscal policy. In its latest monetary policy meeting in March, the Bank of Japan maintained its ultra-accommodating monetary policy and did not raise its negative interest rate from -0.10%. The difference in interest rates with other major Central Banks, especially with the Fed and the BOE, puts the Yen at a disadvantage driving its price down.
The BOJ Summary of Opinions was published on Tuesday, which includes the Central Bank’s projection for inflation and economic growth and is the primary tool the BOJ uses to communicate its economic and monetary projections to investors. In the report, Japanese policymakers stated that inflationary pressures are building in Japan, with inflation growing to 1%, which is still far from the BOJ’s 2% target. Bank of Japan board members seemed skeptical about the rise in inflation though, expressing doubts on whether the rise was sustainable. They stated that the rise in inflation rates would likely prove to be temporary, and was mainly due to the rising cost of imports, especially energy-related imports. Policymakers concluded that the BOJ must continue its ultra-accommodating fiscal policy, to support the economy.
Japan’s core CPI may climb around 2% in April, similar to other countries that are expected to see a peak in inflation rates near the same time, largely due to increased oil prices. Japan is a net energy importer and the current energy crisis is damaging the country’s terms of trade and overall economic health. The rising cost of oil is causing goods prices to rise in Japan, with oil imports accounting for 80% of the country’s oil consumption.
The BOJ stated on Monday that it would buy an unlimited amount of Japanese Government Bonds with a maturity of up to ten years at 0.25% to stop rising global yields from pulling yields higher. Near the end of last week, Japan’s treasury yields rose sharply, with yields on 10-year Japanese government bonds climbing to a six-year high of 0.24%. Japanese bond yields had been on the decline for some time, and rising U.S. yields had taken the spread between the two markets to its widest since August 2019.
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