After starting the week with sharp losses, the Japanese yen has settled down. In the European session, USD/JPY is showing limited movement, trading at 138.66.
Japanese data improves
Japan posted solid numbers today, as retail sales and industrial production both improved in July. Retail sales climbed 2.4% YoY in July, (vs 1.5% in June), above the forecast of 1.9%. Significantly, household spending stayed strong, despite high inflation due to rising energy and food prices.
Industrial production surprised with a gain of 1.0% MoM (vs. -0.5% forecast), after a huge 9.2% gain in June. Two straight months of gains point to strong pent-up demand and an easing in supply line disruptions. As well, the consumer confidence index rose to 32.5 in August (vs. 31.0) up from 30.2 in July. Consumer confidence remains weak, but the index improving for the first time in three months is welcome news.
The host of positive numbers is an indication that the Japanese economy, although fragile, continues to recover, in large part due to pent-up demand following the easing of Covid restrictions. Still, the economy has a long way to go before the Bank of Japan will join its counterparts and tighten policy. The BoJ is primarily focused on stimulating the economy, and inflation remains much, much lower than what we’re seeing elsewhere. With the BoJ vigilantly maintaining its yield control, the Japanese yen remains at the mercy of the US/Japan rate differential, and higher US yields of late have pushed USD/JPY close to the 139 level. We could see the yen fall to 140 in the short-term, with no indication that Japan’s Ministry of Finance has any appetite to intervene and support the yen.
Later today, the US releases the ADP Employment report. The market consensus for August stands at 288 thousand, which would be a strong improvement from the July gain of 128 thousand. This event could cause some brief volatility in the dollar, but it is not a reliable indicator for Friday’s non-farm employment report. In fact, NFP is expected to fall to 300 thousand, down from July’s massive gain of 528 thousand.
- USD/JPY is testing support at 1.3822. The next support line is at 137.01
- 1.3891 and 1.4012 are resistance lines
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