USD/JPY is unchanged in the Tuesday session. Currently, the pair is trading at 113.40. On the release front, there were no surprises from the Bank of Japan, which maintained interest rates at -0.10%. Japanese Household Spending declined 0.3%, better than the forecast of -0.8%. In the US, today’s key event is CB Consumer Confidence, with the markets expecting a strong reading of 112.8 points. On Thursday, the Federal Reserve will set the benchmark interest rate, which is expected to remain pegged at 0.50%.
On Monday, the BoJ maintained interest rates at -0.10%, where they have been pegged since January 2016. The bank raised its GDP projection for fiscal year 2017 to 1.5 percent, up from 1.3 percent. At the same time, the BoJ highlighted the uncertainty that the economy faces due to the new US administration. President Trump has already taken some protectionist moves, and this could have a negative effect on Japan, which relies heavily on exports. The Japanese yen remains at low levels and the BoJ has previously said that it would consider action if the dollar rose above 120 yen. However, after the rate announcement, BoJ Governor said that the bank does not have a target for the currency.
The markets had predicted that US economic growth would soften in the fourth quarter, and Advance GDP fell short of the estimate. The economy expanded 1.9%, shy of the estimate of 2.1%. Business investment and consumer spending remains solid and should continue into 2017. However, Trump’s protectionist rhetoric and action, which saw tensions escalate with Mexico last week, could cloud the bright picture for the US economy.
Donald Trump has just started his new position, but he has already signed a host of controversial executive orders which have been condemned both domestically and abroad. Trump has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and declared he will reopen the NAFTA trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. He has also ordered work to begin on a wall with Mexico and banned immigrants from seven Moslem countries. Trump’s unconventional and disjointed approach to international politics and trade could have major ramifications on global trade and could lead to financial instability in global markets, triggering volatility in the currency markets. Just a few days before being sworn in as president, Trump stated that the US dollar was "too strong", blaming a weak Chinese currency. Predictably, the greenback lost ground after Trump’s remarks. Still, Trump’s shock election win in November has boosted the US dollar, with USD/JPY soaring 8.3% during that time.