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Even as the BoJ vs. Fed Difference Remains in the Spotlight, USD/JPY Tracks Below 134.00 on Lackluster Yields

Alina Haynes

Apr 17, 2023 14:02



As Monday begins in Tokyo, USD/JPY falls from its intraday high and stabilizes around 133.80. As a consequence, the Yen pair is unable to extend its previous day's gains due to lax market conditions preceding this week's key data/events. In addition to a paucity of significant data or events, USD/JPY traders have recently struggled with inconsistent triggers and sluggish returns.


The previous day, USD/JPY reached its highest level in a week as primarily positive US data dampened expectations for a policy shift and rate cut by the Federal Reserve (Fed) in 2023. Despite this, US retail sales decreased by 1.0% in March compared to the predicted -0.4% decline and February's -0.2% decline. As opposed to the 0.2% market consensus and previous reading, Industrial Production increased by 0.4% in the month in question. The preliminary result of the University of Michigan's (UoM) Consumer Confidence Index for April, which increased to 63.5 from 62.0 analysts' expectations and previous readings, was also encouraging. In addition, inflation forecasts for the next year increased from 3.6% in March to 4.6% in April, while inflation forecasts for the next five years decreased by 2.9% during the same month.


Previously, the USD/JPY pair increased due to hawkish Fed discussions. In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Raphael Bostic, president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve (Fed), stated that "recent developments are consistent with one more rate hike." According to Reuters, Fed Governor Christopher Waller discussed this topic and stated that additional rate hikes are necessary because the Fed has not made significant progress toward its inflation objective. In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Austan Goolsbee, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, stated that he still needs to examine the statistics. The lawmaker said, "However, let's keep in mind that we've raised a lot of money; some of the delay may be reflected in today's retail sales number."


In contrast, the USD/JPY pair was able to maintain its strength due to the new Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), Kazuo Ueda, who supports the Japanese central bank's easy-money policy.


Recent geopolitical tensions between China and the United States over Taiwan, as well as China's desire to collaborate with Russia to enhance regional and global security, have weighed on the USD/JPY pair and agitated the market.


S&P 500 Futures struggle to find a clear direction amidst these wagers following Wall Street's pessimistic close, as bond yields remain neutral despite weekly gains.


The preliminary readings of the US PMIs for April and the Japanese National Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March will be crucial to monitor going forward. The previously mentioned risk factors and central banker comments are also significant.