The Japanese yen has started the week with losses. In the North American session, USD/JPY is trading at 137.44, down 0.64%.
Japan’s PPI almost unchanged at 9.3%
Japanese wholesale inflation climbed 9.3% y/y in November, a drop lower than the 9.4% gain in October. This was above the consensus of 8.9%, as a peak in inflation remains elusive. The continuing increase in raw material costs has forced companies to pass on these costs. Higher commodity prices and a weak yen have raised the costs of imports, which has boosted wholesale and consumer inflation. If this upward trend continues, it could damage Japan’s fragile economy, but the Bank of Japan has insisted that inflation is transitory and has been unwilling to change its ultra-accommodative policy.
Is this the calm before the storm? USD/JPY has been subdued for almost a week, but I would not be surprised to see stronger movement in the next day or two, with a host of key events on the economic calendar. On Tuesday, Japan releases the BoJ Tankan report, which is expected to show a slowdown in manufacturing, but stronger non-manufacturing activity due to the easing in Covid restrictions. The US releases the November CPI report, and we have seen how softer-than-expected CPI data sent risk appetite flying and the US dollar tumbling lower. The consensus for CPI is 7.3%, following a 7.7% gain in October.
The inflation report will be followed by the Federal Reserve rate announcement on Wednesday. The Fed is expected to deliver a 50-basis point hike, which is an oversize rate increase. Still, coming after four straight hikes of 75 bp, the Fed has found it difficult to dampen investor speculation that the Fed may soon wind up the current tightening cycle. The Fed recently paraded a stream of FOMC members to deliver hawkish messages, but the markets seem intent on seizing any data that supports the equity markets, and another soft inflation report could achieve that result and send the dollar downwards.
- USD/JPY tested resistance at 137.13 earlier. Above, there is resistance at 138.25
- There is support at 136.37 and 135.07
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