The Japanese yen is in positive territory on Friday. In the European session, USD/JPY is trading at 129.76, down 0.33%.
Tokyo CPI hits 4.3%
Inflation indicators in Japan continue to head northwards. Tokyo Core CPI rose to 4.3% y/y in January, up from 3.9% in December and ahead of the consensus of 4.2%. This is the highest level in 42 years, but what is more worrying for the Bank of Japan is that the indicator has exceeded the central bank’s target of 2% for the eighth straight month. The increase was broad-based, with food and fuel prices the main contributors to the increase.
The Tokyo Core CPI reading follows other inflation indicators which have hit decades-high levels, adding pressure on the BoJ to exit its stimulus programme. The BoJ insists that inflation will peak at 3% in March. but this view seems over-optimistic, given the trend we’re seeing from inflation data. BOJ Governor Kuroda has said he will maintain the Bank’s ultra-loose policy until wages increase, which would indicate that inflation is driven by domestic demand rather than cost-push factors. Kuroda winds up his term in April, and the new Governor could decide to tighten policy, which would boost the yen.
US GDP climbed 2.9% y/y in Q4, down from 3.2% in Q3 but still a respectable clip. Will the US be able to avoid a recession? The answer isn’t clear, as the economic data shows a mixed picture. The employment market remains robust and overall growth has been positive. Manufacturing and Services PMIs continue to show that these sectors are contracting and housing has been especially weak, as it lowered Q4 GDP by about 1.3%. Much will depend on the strength of consumer spending, which accounts for some 68% of GDP. Consumer spending rose 2.1% in Q4, down slightly from 2.3% in the third quarter. However, the December release is worrying, as consumer spending declined by 1.1%. If this trend continues, it seems likely that the US economy will tip into a recession.
- 129.46 is a weak support level. The next support line is 128.40
- There is resistance at 130.89 and 131.69
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