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Yen slide to continue At last week’s G7 summit, Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, urged world leaders to take part in a coordinated fiscal response to lacklustre

Yen slide to continue

Abe urges coordinated response to slow growth

At last week’s G7 summit, Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, urged world leaders to take part in a coordinated fiscal response to lacklustre global growth, comparing current economic conditions to those during the 2008 financial crisis. While the speech failed to garner much support, it did highlight the willingness of Japanese authorities to do more in order to ensure growth and acted as a precursor to Abe’s decision on Wednesday to delay the proposed 2% sales tax hike by two and a half years to October 2019, a move which sent the USD/JPY falling over 1%. While we expect fiscal stimulus to continue to be an important part of achieving the nation’s economic goals, with core inflation so far from its target (2.3% below), it is highly likely that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will implement further monetary stimulus in coming months. Further loosening should put pressure on the JPY against the US Dollar, as diverging policy paths come increasingly to the fore.

BoJ unlikely to disappoint for much longer

After the sharp JPY rally that followed the disappointment of the BoJ’s last monetary policy meeting, it is understandable that investors may be cautious about the central bank’s intentions. However, the surprising decision to maintain the status quo masked the grim economic picture that was delivered in the BoJ’s quarterly outlook report that was released simultaneously. The report revealed a deep cut to the 2016 inflation forecast and raised concerns over the impact of slowing emerging market demand on Japanese exports. Recent inflation and manufacturing data has likely added to these concerns, showing the second month of declining core consumer prices and the fastest contraction in manufacturing activity in three years (see Figure 1). Given this backdrop, we see the BoJ as more likely to ease than not at its upcoming meeting on June 15th.

Figure 1: Economy remains weak

Positioning shifts

Despite widening nominal yield differentials between Japan and the US, speculative positioning has remained stubbornly JPY bullish, until now. Last week, speculative long JPY positions experienced the largest fall since November 2011, and shorts showed early signs of bottoming. A catalyst in the form of further monetary easing by the BoJ or hawkish comments during Janet Yellen’s World Affairs Council (WAC) speech (6th June) could spur an increasing shift to bearish positioning.

Important Information

This communication has been issued and approved for the purpose of section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by ETF Securities (UK) Limited (“ETFS UK”) which is authorised and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”).

The information contained in this communication is for your general information only and is neither an offer for sale nor a solicitation of an offer to buy securities. This communication should not be used as the basis for any investment decision. Historical performance is not an indication of future performance and any investments may go down in value.

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