HomeContributorsFundamental AnalysisYen Yawns After Mixed US Employment Data

Yen Yawns After Mixed US Employment Data

USD/JPY is showing little movement at the start of the week. Currently, the pair is trading at 112.50. On the release front, Japanese Average Cash Earnings edged lower to 0.1%, shy of the forecast of 0.4%. In the US, there are no major events on the calendar. On Tuesday, the US releases JOLTS Job Openings, with the indicator expected to rise to 5.56 million.

On Friday, US job numbers were mixed. Nonfarm payrolls jumped to 227 thousand, well above the estimate of 170 thousand. However, wage growth disappointed, as Average Hourly Earnings slipped to 0.1%, short of the forecast of 0.3%. There’s no arguing that the US economy is performing well, but there is a sense of uneasiness in the markets as Donald Trump continues to create controversy and dissent both at home and abroad. Trump has picked a fight with Mexico and his travel ban on Moslems from seven countries has created a strong backlash. Moreover, the lack of an economic policy is a major source of concern and the the post-election euphoria which sent the markets higher appears to have dissipated. The Federal Reserve is no less in the dark than the rest of us, and is expected to adopt a wait-and-see attitude in the coming months. If the economy continues to grow, there is a strong likelihood of another rate hike in the first half of 2017, which is bullish for the dollar.

Just a couple of weeks into his presidency, President Donald Trump has not hesitated to spat with US trading partners. Last week it was the turn of Japan, as Trump accused Japan of currency devaluation in order to gain an unfair trade advantage from a weaker yen. Japan flatly denied the claim of currency manipulation, saying that Japan’s monetary policy was aimed at curbing deflation and not lowering the value of the yen. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet in Washington on February 10, and it’s a sure thing that currency policy will be high up the list on the agenda of the meeting. The BoJ sent off its own warning about currency manipulation when the dollar pushed above the 120 level, but BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kurodo recently stated that the bank does not have a target for the currency. It’s a safe bet that we haven’t seen the last of the war of words between the US and Japan with regard to currency policy.

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