USD/JPY has posted slight losses on Wednesday. In the North American session, the pair is trading at 110.29, down 0.18% on the day. In economic news, Japan released strong numbers. Core Machinery Orders climbed 3.8%, crushing the estimate of o.0%. This marked a 5-month high. Japan’s trade deficit declined by JPY 11.0 trillion, beating the estimate of JPY 12.0 trillion. In the U.S. today’s highlight is the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting earlier this month. On Thursday, the U.S. releases unemployment claims.
Investors are keeping a close eye on the Federal Reserve meeting. Will the minutes point to any bias regarding the next rate move? At the May meeting, the Federal Reserve maintained the benchmark rate for a fourth straight month. The rate statement noted that inflation pressures remain muted and that the FOMC would remain patient regarding future rate movements. Jerome Powell reinforced this stance after the meeting, saying that “we don’t see a strong case for moving in either direction”. The Fed is already on record as saying it does not expect to raise rates before 2020, and with inflation levels persistently below the Fed’s target of 2.0%, the Fed can afford to continue its wait-and-see stance.
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have escalated in recent weeks, causing strong volatility on global equity markets. This has also affected the movement of the Japanese yen, which is a safe-haven asset. It has been a tale of two Mays for the Japanese currency. The yen posted strong gains in the first half of the month, but has reversed directions and given up much of those gains. With the equity markets continuing to show strong swings and risk appetite unsteady, traders should be prepared for more volatility from USD/JPY.