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USD/JPY – Calm Before the Storm?

The Japanese yen is in calm waters on Tuesday, as the Bank of Japan’s two-day meeting starts today. In the European session, USD/JPY is trading at 128.76, up 0.18%.

Markets eye BOJ meeting

The markets are keeping a close eye on the BOJ meeting. The central bank shocked the markets at the December meeting with a policy tweak that widened the bank around 10-year JBs to 0.50%, up from 0.25%. The speculation that the BOJ could follow through with additional moves at this meeting has pushed USD/JPY back below the 130 level. On Monday, USD/JPY touched 127.21, its lowest level since May.

It seems likely that further moves are coming from the BOJ, but it’s unclear whether the BOJ will announce the changes on Wednesday or will wait until the new BOJ Governor takes over in April. Unlike the Fed, the BOJ appears to have no interest in telegraphing its plans and is keeping mum, which is making this meeting that much more dramatic. I expect to see some volatility from USD/JPY on Wednesday – if the BOJ does make any policy tweaks, the yen will likely continue to improve. Conversely, if the BOJ maintains the status quo, traders will be disappointed at the lack of action and the yen would likely lose ground.

The BOJ has spent over six trillion yen ($86 billion) since Friday to defend its new 0.50% cap on 10 JGB, as sellers continue to flood the bond market. The central bank could widen the band to 0.75% or make a radical change and discard its yield curve control altogether. Let’s not forget that the BOJ is expected to increase its inflation forecast at the meeting, which would mark a step closer to normalization and would be bullish for the yen.

USD/JPY Technical

  • There is resistance at 129.40 and 130.82
  • 128.40 and 127.54 are providing support

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