USDJPY – Panic Selling or New Bearish Trend?

The dollar fell strongly against the yen at the end of last week and first trading day of this, with the latter benefiting from the unwinding of the currency trade and its perceived safe haven status.


The sell-off in the pair prompted a break below the ascending trend line – 16 January highs – and came close to its 2015 lows before rebounding.

The pair is about to test whether the sell-off was the beginning of a broader sell-off in the pair or just a one-off move sparked by market panic.

The pair is currently testing the 50% retracement of the move from 12 August highs to Monday’s lows which coincides with a prior area of support and resistance. If this sell-off is indeed part of a broader sell-off, this would represent a logical level for the pair to reverse back to the downside.

However, the rally over the last few days doesn’t appear to be losing any momentum at this stage, despite being held here for now.


With that in mind, we could see some further upside in the pair in the short term, which wouldn’t yet mean that the sell-off peaked on Monday.

The real test comes around 1.2180 where the ascending trend line – mentioned earlier – intersects a prior level of support and resistance and the 61.8% retracement of the previously mentioned swing high and low.

A failure to break through this level would effectively act as confirmation of the original break – a bearish signal – and suggest more downside pressures remain. We haven’t seen a significant correction in the pair for some time so it wouldn’t be surprising to see one now, even if the longer term outlook remains bullish.

Alternatively, a break and daily close above that resistance area would suggest the sell-off was just panic selling and the bullish bias remains in tact.

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Craig Erlam
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the BBC and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, FOX Business and BNN. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.