USD/JPY – Yen Improves to 2-Week Gains as Fed Raises Rates

USD/JPY is almost unchanged in the Thursday session, after declining 1.1% on Wednesday. Currently, the pair is trading at 113.30. On the release front, the BoJ stood pat and maintained interest rates at -0.10%. The US, will release three key indicators – Building Permits, Philly Fed Manufacturing Index and unemployment claims. The week wraps up with consumer confidence data, with the release of UoM Consumer Confidence on Friday.

As expected, the Bank of Japan rate announcement on Wednesday was a non-event. The central bank opted to leave rates at -0.10%, where they have been pegged for over a year. The Japanese economy has showed improvement, recording four consecutive quarters of growth. However, the BoJ is unlikely to feel pressure to raise rates anytime soon, as inflation levels are still well below the central bank’s target of around 2 percent. The BoJ is comfortable maintaining its ultra-loose monetary policy for the time being. However, if the yen again falls below the 120 line, the US will likely complain of currency manipulation and unfair trade practices by Japan. It wasn’t that long ago, when yen was trading close to the 100 level, that the shoe was on the other foot, and Japan was warning that it would take unilateral action to combat what it viewed as currency manipulation. Clearly then, a “fair” exchange rate depends on the eye of the beholder.

There were no surprised faces when the Federal Reserve raised rates by a quarter-point on Wednesday. The hike, the second in just three months, raised the benchmark rate to the 0.75%-1.00% range. What was not expected, however, was the sharp drop of the dollar against its major rivals, including the yen. The markets were hoping that a red-hot US economy would propel the Fed to accelerate its pace of monetary tightening. There was disappointment as Fed Chair Janet Yellen reiterated that further rate hikes would be done gradually, pushing the dollar on Wednesday. As well, the US dollar may have lost ground due to traders and investors acting on “buy on rumor, sell on fact”. This larges-scale selling of US dollars after the Fed hike has sent the US dollar broadly lower.

USD/JPY Fundamentals

Wednesday (March 15)

  • 22:54 BoJ Policy Rate. Estimate -0.10%. Actual -0.10%
  • 22:54 BoJ Monetary Policy Statement

Thursday (March 16)

  • 2:30 BoJ Press Conference
  • 8:30 US Building Permits. Estimate 1.26M
  • 8:30 US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. Estimate 30.2
  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 245K
  • 8:30 US Housing Starts. Estimate 1.26M
  • 10:00 US JOLTS Openings. Estimate 5.45M
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -60B

Upcoming Key Events

Friday (March 17)

  • 10:00 US Preliminary UoM Consumer Sentiment. Estimate 97.1

*All release times are GMT

*Key events are in bold

USD/JPY for Thursday, March 16, 2017

USD/JPY March 16 at 8:25 EST

Open: 113.39 High: 113.54 Low: 112.90 Close: 113.32

USD/JPY Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
109.77 110.94 112.57 113.80 114.83 115.90

USD/JPY has shown limited movement in the Asian and European sessions

  • 112.57 has switched to a support role after strong losses by USD/JPY on Wednesday
  • 113.80 is a weak resistance line
  • Current range: 112.57 to 113.80

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 112.57, 110.94, and 109.77
  •  Above: 113.80, 114.83, 115.90 and 116.88

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

USD/JPY ratio is unchanged in the Thursday session. Currently, long positions have a majority (56%), indicative of trader bias towards USD/JPY breaking out and moving higher.

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Kenny Fisher joined OANDA in 2012 as a Currency Analyst. Kenny writes a daily column about current economic and political developments affecting the major currency pairs, with a focus on fundamental analysis. Kenny began his career in forex at Bendix Foreign Exchange in Toronto, where he worked as a Corporate Account Manager for over seven years.