- Consensus is expecting no change to BoJ’s monetary policy, but its policy statement and Governor Ueda’s press conference may signal an imminent shift away from short-term negative interest rates.
- Mounting pressures from public and private sectors with Economy Minister Shindo attending today’s monetary policy decision meeting as a representative from the Cabinet Office.
- Technical analysis suggests further potential weakness in the USD/JPY.
This is a follow-up analysis of our prior report, “USD/JPY Technical: Potential JPY bullish pressure reasserts” published on 12 December 2023. Click here for a recap.
In December, the JPY was the best performer among the major currencies against the US dollar where it soared by +4.85% as of 19 December at this time of the writing.
The recent JPY strength has been attributed to two factors; the US Federal Reserve’s dovish pivot where it guided market participants by projecting three cuts on the Fed funds rate in 2024. In contrast, hawkish guidance from top BoJ officials made two weeks ago where Governor Ueda and Deputy Governor Himino’s remarks have dialled up speculations that the current short-term negative interest rate policy in Japan in place since 2016 is likely to be scrapped sooner than expected and may come as early on the 23 January 2024 monetary policy meeting where BoJ releases its latest economic outlook report on the same day.
Today, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will conclude its last two-day monetary policy meeting for 2023 while the consensus expectations are expecting no change to the current monetary policy setting, BoJ can still potentially lay the groundwork for its upcoming shift away from short-term negative interest rates via its policy statement and BoJ Governor Ueda’s press conference at 3.30 pm after the close of the Japan’s stock market.
BoJ faced mounting pressures from the public and private sectors
Interestingly, ahead of today’s monetary policy decision outcome, it seems that mounting pressure from the public and private sectors has arisen, prominent Jaan business lobby Keidanren head Tokura said yesterday that BoJ must normalize monetary policy as early as possible. Also, today’s meeting outcome will be attended by Economy Minister Shindo as a representative from the Cabinet Office who cannot vote on monetary policy decisions.
It is rare for a cabinet minister to attend BoJ monetary policy meetings as such “attendee roles” are usually assigned to deputy ministers. In the past meetings that cabinet ministers attended had resulted in major monetary policy changes such as the launch of the mega quantitative asset-buying programme in April 2013.
USD/JPY is hovering around the 200-day moving average
Fig 1: USD/JPY medium-term trend as of 19 Dec 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart
The medium and short-term downtrend phases of the USD/JPY in place since a test on its 151.95 major resistance on 13 November 2023 remain intact as price actions remain below its downward sloping 20 and 50-day moving averages without a bullish divergence condition seen on its daily RSI momentum indicator at its oversold region.
Short-term momentum has turned bearish
Fig 2: USD/JPY short-term minor trend as of 19 Dec 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart
In the shorter term as depicted on the hourly chart, the RSI momentum indicator has staged a bearish breakdown below its parallel ascending support after it hit overbought status yesterday, 18 December.
Watch the 143.30 short-term pivotal resistance and a break below the recent 140.95 low printed last Thursday, 14 December may expose the next intermediate support at 139.20 in the first step (also the close to the 50% Fibonacci retracement of the prior medium-term uptrend phase from 16 January 2023 low to 13 November 2023 high).
On the other hand, a clearance above 143.30 negates the bearish tone for a potential minor countertrend rebound to see the next intermediate resistances coming in at 144.80 and 146.70 if 144.80 is taken out.
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