Fundamental Analysis

Japanese Yen Gains on Soft Dollar, Fed Dovishness, and Bullish BoJ Outlook

Japanese Yen Gains on Soft Dollar, Fed Dovishness, and Bullish BoJ Outlook

The Japanese Yen (JPY) has recently retreated from its strong gains against the US Dollar (USD), marking a second day of weakening on Wednesday. This shift comes after the US Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) hawkish minutes and better-than-expected labor and consumer sentiment data provided a boost to the USD, lifting it from its lowest levels since the end of August. Consequently, the USD/JPY pair made a notable recovery from the 147.15 area, which was a two-month low reached on Tuesday.

Despite this, spot prices struggled to maintain their upward trajectory past the 149.75 level, facing resistance on Thursday. Market sentiment is tilting toward the belief that the Federal Reserve (Fed) may have concluded its policy-tightening phase and could begin reducing interest rates by May 2024. This anticipation has led to a decline in US Treasury yields, resulting in the selling off of the USD. Furthermore, the possibility of a hawkish pivot in the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) policy has exerted downward pressure on the USD/JPY, keeping it subdued near the 149.00 level as the European trading session approaches.

In the recent market movements, the Japanese Yen did see a dip to 149.75 against the Dollar on Wednesday but managed to recoup some of its losses by Thursday. Market speculation is rife that the BoJ may terminate its negative interest rate policy in early 2024, contributing to the USD/JPY’s dip on Thursday. Despite this, minutes from the Fed’s last meeting hint at a continued restrictive stance on interest rates.

Economic data from the US painted a mixed picture: Initial Jobless Claims fell significantly to 209,000 for the week ending November 18, indicating a robust labor market. However, the Consumer Sentiment Index continued to decline, reaching 61.3 in November, and inflation expectations rose to 4.5%, marking the highest since April 2023. Durable Goods Orders also fell by 5.4% in October, signaling economic headwinds.

Market participants are now discounting the likelihood of further Fed rate hikes, with many anticipating a rate cut by mid-2024. Traders, adjusting their positions ahead of the US Thanksgiving holiday, are now turning their attention to forthcoming PMI data from the Eurozone and the UK, which could affect global risk sentiment and the demand for the safe-haven Yen. The upcoming release of Japan’s National core CPI, followed by US PMIs, will also be closely monitored for their potential impact on currency markets.