The Japanese yen continues to lose ground on Tuesday. In the North American session, USD/JPY is trading at 147.26, up 0.50%. The yen broke above the 147 level for the first time since November 2022.
Tokyo says battle with inflation has reached turning point
Just a few days after Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda’s speech at the Jackson Hole summit, the Japanese government released a potentially significant white paper. To say that the two events were contradictory might be a stretch, but they appeared to present a very different stance towards inflation.
At Jackson Hole, Ueda stuck to the BoJ’s well-worn script that underlying inflation remains lower than the BoJ’s target of 2%. As a result, the BoJ has insisted it will stick with the current ultra-easy policy until there is evidence that inflation remains sustainably above target. The white paper sounded a different tone, noting that “Japan has seen price and wage rises broaden since the spring of 2022. Such changes suggest the economy is reaching a turning point in its 25-year battle with deflation” and “a window of opportunity may be opening to exit deflation.”
Could this be a turning point that leads to a tightening in policy? The government hasn’t acknowledged that deflation is over, despite the fact that core inflation has remained above the 2% target for 16 successive months. Wages are also on the rise after companies significantly bumped up employee wages earlier in the year.
The white paper spoke of the need to “eradicate the sticky deflationary mindset besetting households and companies”, but I wonder if the BoJ also suffers from the same mindset, even with inflation remaining above target month after month. Investors should remain on guard for a shift in central bank policy, especially if the yen continues to head towards the key 150 level.
- There is resistance at 147.19 and 147.95
- 146.30 and 145.10 are providing support