USD/JPY is almost unchanged on Wednesday. In the North American session, the pair is trading at 109.57, down 0.03% on the day. There are no major Japanese events. In the U.S., retail sales and core retail sales both missed expectations. On Thursday, the U.S. releases three key indicators – building permits, unemployment claims and the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index.

U.S. retail sales in April were weaker than forecast, but this didn’t help the struggling pound. The currency has lost 1.2% this week and is trading at its lowest level since mid-February. Retail sales declined 0.2%, after a strong gain of 1.6% in March. Core retail sales posted a small gain of 0.1%, much lower than the estimate of 0.7%.

Another round of tariffs between the U.S. and China has triggered sharp swings in the equity markets. This has also led to significant volatility from USD/JPY, as the safe-haven yen has climbed when risk appetite has sagged, and conversely, the yen has fallen when trade tensions have eased and risk apprehension has declined. The yen has posted four straight winning weeks, corresponding to sharp declines on global equity markets. The new tariffs are set to take effect in several weeks and could continue to cause volatility in the stock markets. If this happens, traders can also expect swings in the movement of USD/JPY.

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