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Japanese Yen

The Force is With the Yen

Just when it looked like the carry trade was back for good and all signs pointed to a Yen depreciation, out of nowhere came a series of surprise developments, propping the Yen back up. Spanning finance, economics, and politics - a Forex Trifecta - these developments moved swiftly through the markets, creating optimism for the Yen where before there was only pessimism. Of course, it’s possible that this bump will prove temporary, and a reversal could transpire just as quickly.

Yen Carry Trade is Back, but for How Long?

“Mrs Watanabe, the market’s metaphor for Japan’s housewife yen speculators, has come back to life.” In other words, the Yen carry trade is back. Precise data remains elusive, as always, but several recent papers/articles have nonetheless succeeded in bringing some clarity to this growing, but murky, type of trading strategy. According to one source, “Monthly capital and financial account outflow rose to a nine-year high of ¥3.75 trillion in March, up from ¥1.93tn in February, according to Japan’s Ministry of Finance.

Japanese Yen: Exports Versus Carry

Plot the Japanese Yen against almost any “major” currency over the last few months (or few weeks for that matter) and you get a pretty consistent picture. Moreover, when you graph most Yen currency pairs against the S&P 500 (I like the AUD/JPY), the correlation is uncanny! Sure enough, it was reported recently that “Japan’s currency also fell the most in a week against the euro as futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.5 percent.”

Risk Aversion Edges Up

Over the last few weeks, the stock market rally has fizzled and commodities prices have cooled off. It’s not clear what triggered this sudden surge in introspection (I would call it reasonableness). Regardless, the markets are now wondering out loud whether the optimism of the second quarter wasn’t a bit naive.

Is Risk Aversion Back?

At the end of last week, I posed a question: what will be the next theme to dominate forex markets? Perhaps the answer can be found in Monday’s massive market selloff (”Triple-M Monday” anyone?), the worst day for stocks in over two months.

Japanese Yen Sinks with US Dollar, but at Slower Pace

Speaking of seven-month lows, did anyone notice that while the US Dollar was busy declining against pretty much every other tradable currency that the Japanese Yen was doing the same? The Yen has remained rangebound against the Dollar for the last three months - the period during which the market rally and Dollar decline have taken place - which just by simple mathematics explains why it has also fallen to a seven-month low around the same time.

Japanese Yen Sinks with US Dollar, but at Slower Pace

Speaking of seven-month lows, did anyone notice that while the US Dollar was busy declining against pretty much every other tradable currency that the Japanese Yen was doing the same? The Yen has remained rangebound against the Dollar for the last three months - the period during which the market rally and Dollar decline have taken place - which just by simple mathematics explains why it has also fallen to a seven-month low around the same time.

Yen Continues to Drop Despite Government Stimulus Plan

This week, the Yen continued its decline against the Dollar and Euro, dipping well below 100 Yen/Dollar en route to a six-month low. Most analysts attribute this trend to a pickup in risk aversion: “Some kind of optimism is returning to the market and that’s putting pressure on the yen,” explained one analyst succinctly.

Yen Rises Above 100 as Risk Aversion Fades

This week marked a couple milestones for the Japanese Yen. First, the Yen fell below 100 JPY/USD for the first time in five months. Second, the Central Bank of Japan “celebrated” five years of not having intervened in forex markets. Of course, the relationship between these two events is not difficult to ascertain; as the Yen retreats from the stratospheric highs of 2008, intervention is becoming progressively less necessary (and hence less likely).

Japanese Yen Hovers around 100 JPY/USD, Intervention Unlikely

In the wake of the Swiss National Bank intervening to hold down the value of the Franc, everyone is wondering whether the Bank of Japan (and perhaps other Central Banks) will follow suit. Asks one market commentator rhetorically: “How long do you think it will be until Japan tries once again to push the yen lower, with its export industries in tatters?” Given that the Japanese economy is forecast to contract for at least the next two quarters, and also that its trade balance recently slipped into deficit, this is an eminently reasonable question.

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