The Japanese yen continues to have a quiet week. USD/JPY has edged up 0.20% and is trading at 132.50.
Markets await US inflation report
There is optimism in the air ahead of the US inflation report for December. The forecast is for inflation to fall, which is exactly what investors want to hear. The consensus for headline inflation stands at 6.5%, following the November gain of 7.1%. The core rate is also expected to ease, with a forecast of 5.7% in December, compared to 6.0% in November.
We’ve seen in recent months how inflation reports can move the equity and currency markets and investors should be prepared for the same from tomorrow’s inflation report. Soft inflation releases have sent the US dollar lower, as the markets have assumed that the Fed will ease up on the pace of rates and even cuts rates late in the year. The Fed continues to present a hawkish stance, but the markets will likely march to their own tune if inflation comes in as expected or drops even lower. The markets have priced in a peak fed funds rate of 4.93%, lower than the Fed dot plot which projects rates peaking at 5-5.25%. Some Fed members have said rates could go even higher than that, but that hasn’t made much impression on the markets.
The Bank of Japan meets next week, and investors will be watching carefully. The BoJ meetings are no longer sleepy affairs with little substance, as the markets saw in December when the BoJ stunned the markets by widening the yield curve control band. We’re unlikely to get more fireworks at the upcoming meeting, but the BoJ’s inflation forecasts will be significant. There have been reports that the BoJ may raise the forecasts for core inflation. This would be bullish for the yen as a higher inflation forecast would be a prerequisite for the BoJ normalizing policy.
- There is weak resistance at 132.13, followed by 133.30
- 131.25 and 130.60 are the next support lines
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