USD/JPY has edged higher, as the pair trades in the mid-102 range in Friday trading. In economic news, the BOJ minutes indicated that the Bank plans to continue its aggressive monetary policy. In the US, today’s highlight is Existing Home Sales. On Thursday, US Unemployment Claims and Core CPI met expectations, but the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index slumped to a nine-month low. There are no Japanese releases on Friday.
There were no surprises in the BOJ minutes, as the Bank reiterated that the economy was growing at a moderate pace and it planned to continue its current monetary policy. The BOJ did note that it needed to be clear that its stimulus program could last more than two years. The central bank has said in the past that it was aiming to reach a level of 2% inflation within two years, but it does not want to be hamstrung by any deadlines, and said that quantitative and qualitative easing will continue as long as required. The BOJ’s estimate for GDP in fiscal 2013 remains unchanged at 2.7%, while the outlook for fiscal 2014 was lowered to 1.4% from 1.5%. On the inflation front, the forecast for fiscal 2013 is 0.7%, jumping to 3.3% in fiscal 2014.
US numbers were a mix on Thursday. Unemployment Claims dropped slightly last week, coming in at 336 thousand. This was just shy of the estimate of 335 thousand. After some recent weak releases on the employment front, the markets will be pleased with this release. Meanwhile, inflation indicators continue to raise concerns, as Core CPI posted a paltry gain of 0.1% for the second straight month. Weak inflation levels are indicative of weak economic growth and could spell trouble for the US recovery. On the manufacturing front, the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index slumped badly, posting a decline of -6.3 points, compared to +9.4 points a month earlier. This marked the first reading below the zero level since January 2013. US numbers have not looked strong of late, and this has helped the euro hold its ground above the 1.37 level.
This week’s Federal Reserve minutes indicated that interest rates are unlikely to rise, even if unemployment drops to 6.5%. Previously, the Fed had said it would consider raising rates at the 6.5% threshold, but with unemployment falling faster than expected, Fed policymakers agreed that it would “soon be appropriate” to revise the Fed’s forward guidance regarding interest rate levels. The minutes also indicated that the Fed will likely continue trimming QE, barring any downturns in the economy.
USD/JPY for Friday, February 21, 2014
USD/JPY February 21 at 11:30 GMT
USD/JPY 102.46 H: 102.61 L: 102.32
- USD/JPY is steady in Friday trade. The pair touched a high of 102.61 late in the Asian session.
- On the upside, 102.53 was breached earlier in the day and remains under strong pressure. There is stronger resistance at 103.30.
- 101.19 is providing support. Next is the key level of 100.00, which has remained intact since November.
- Current range: 101.19 to 102.53
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 101.19, 100.00, 99.57 and 98.65
- Above: 102.53, 103.30, 104.17, 105.70, 106.85
OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio
USD/JPY ratio is pointing to gains in short positions in Friday trading. This is consistent with what we are seeing from the pair, as the yen has edged higher. Long positions continue to comprise a solid majority in the USD/JPY ratio, indicating trader bias towards the dollar posting gains against the yen.
The yen has shown little movement since Monday. USD/JPY remains quiet in the European session and it could be another uneventful day for the pair.
- 15:00 US Existing Home Sales. Estimate 4.73M.
- 18:45 FOMC Member Richard Fisher Speaks.
*Key releases are highlighted in bold
*All release times are GMT