HomeContributorsFundamental AnalysisUSD/JPY Rally Runs Out of Steam, Japan's Inflation Rises

USD/JPY Rally Runs Out of Steam, Japan’s Inflation Rises

  • Japan Core CPI rises
  • USD/JPY in negative territory

The Japanese yen is in positive territory today, in what could be the end of a 6-day rally by the US dollar. During that time, the yen has plunged 440 points and hit a six-month low on Thursday. In the European session, USD/JPY is trading at 138.13, down 0.41%.

Japan’s Core CPI rises to 3.4%

Inflation continues to rise in Japan. Core consumer inflation climbed to 3.4% y/y in April, up from 3.1% in March and matching the estimate. This indicator excludes fresh food but includes energy items. The index which excludes both food and energy, which is closely watched by the Bank of Japan, jumped 4.1% y/y in April, its highest level since September 1981.

The rise in inflation, coupled with a first-quarter GDP which surprised on the upside, has raised speculation that the BoJ could begin to phase out the Bank’s ultra-loose policy, which has been in place for decades. The new Governor, Kazuo Ueda, has said that he would not change policy until inflation was sustainably around 2 per cent and wage growth strengthened. Inflation has been above the Bank’s 2% target for over a year, and the markets are monitoring every comment coming out of the BoJ, looking for any hints of a shift in policy.

The BoJ has long played a game of cat-and-mouse with speculators, who are betting that Ueda will make a move to tighten policy, which would push the yen higher. With the yen below the 138 line and 140 looming closer, the possibility increases that the government will intervene in the currency markets to stabilize the yen and fire a salvo at speculators.

It’s an unusually quiet economic calendar in the US today, with no data releases. The markets will have a chance to focus on Fedspeak, with Jerome Powell and two FOMC members delivering public remarks. Just a few weeks ago, the markets had priced in a pause at the June meeting at over 90%. That has changed to a 66% chance of a pause and a 33% chance of a hike of 25 basis points, according to CME’s FedWatch. That downward revision is due to a consistently hawkish message from the Fed and a surprisingly robust US economy.

USD/JPY Technical

  • USD/JPY faces resistance at 138.42 and 140.43
  • There is support at 137.08 and 136.42

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