The Japanese yen is trading at 1.36.83 in the European session, down 0.52%. USD/JPY fell 0.90% on Thursday but has recovered much of those losses today.
Kuroda exits with a whimper
Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda didn’t fire any final shots at his final meeting today. The BoJ maintained interest rates at -0.1%, where they have been pegged since 2016, and didn’t make any changes to its to yield curve control (YCC) policy. Traditionally, BoJ governors do not make waves at their final meeting, but there was an outside chance that Kuroda might buck the trend. Kuroda has surprised the markets in the past, most notably when he widened the yield curve band in December and jolted the markets. This time, Kuroda stayed on the sidelines and the yen responded with losses as some investors were disappointed that he didn’t tweak the YCC.
Kazuo Ueda takes over as BoJ Governor next month, and there is growing speculation that Ueda will change forward guidance and tweak or even abandon YCC, as distortions in the yield curve are damaging the bond markets. Ueda may not press the trigger when he chairs his first meeting in April but is expected to shift policy in the coming months.
The US releases its February employment report, highlighted by nonfarm payrolls, later today. The blowout January reading of 517,000 is widely seen as a blip, although the labour market remains surprisingly resilient, despite the bite of rising interest rates. The estimate for February stands at 205,000 and a wide miss of this figure on either side will likely shake up the US dollar. A weak reading would fuel speculation of a Fed pivot and likely weigh on the US dollar, while a strong figure would support the Fed’s hawkish stance and should be bullish for the greenback.
The Fed will also be keeping a close eye on wage growth, in addition to nonfarm payrolls. Average hourly earnings are expected to rise to 4.7% y/y in February, up from 4.4% y/y in January. Higher wages drive inflation higher and an acceleration in wage growth would complicate the Fed’s battle to curb inflation.
- 136.06 is under pressure in support. 13502 is next
- 136.86 and 1.37.90 are the next resistance lines
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