FX Trading focus: JPY finding sudden support on new disinflation narrative
Weaker than expected Chinese data overnight brought a surprise rate cut from the Chinese central bank and seems to have sparked a broadening sell-off in commodities, which was boosted later by a crude oil drop of some five dollars per barrel on the news that Iran will decide by midnight tonight on whether to accept a new draft on the nuclear deal forward by the Euro zone. In response, the Chinese yuan has weakened toward the highs for the cycle in USDCNH, trading 6.78+ as of this writing and (there was a spike high to 6.381 back in May but the exchange rate has been capped by 6.80 since then), but the Japanese yen is stealing the volatility and strength crown, surging sharply across the board and following up on the move lower inspired by the soft US CPI data point. US long yields easing considerably lower after an odd spike last Thursday are a further wind at the JPY’s back here. In the bigger picture, it has been rather remarkable that the firm retreat in global long-date yields since the mid-June peak and the oil price backing down a full 25% and more from the cycle highs didn’t do more to support the yen from the yield-spread angle (Bank of Japan’s YCC policy less toxic as yields fall) and from the current account angle for Japan. Interestingly, while the JPY has surged and taken USDJPY down several notches, the US dollar is rather firm elsewhere, with the focus more on selling pro-cyclical and commodity currencies on the possible implication that China may be content to export deflation by weakening its currency now that commodity prices have come down rather than on selling the US dollar due to any marking down of Fed expectations. Still, while the USD may remain a safe haven should JPY volatility be set to run amok across markets, the focus is far more on the latter as long as USDJPY is falling
As the JPY surges here, EURJPY is falling sharply again, largely tracking the trajectory of longer European sovereign yields, which never really rose much from their recent lows from a couple of weeks back, making it tough to understand the solid rally back above 138.00 of late. After peaking above 1.90% briefly in June, the German 10-year Bund, for example, is trading about 100 basis points lower and is not far from the cycle low daily close at 77 basis points. The EURJPY chart features a rather significant pivot area at 133.50, a prior major high back in late 2021 and the recent low and 200-day moving average back at the beginning of the month. After a brief JPY volatility scare in late July and into early August that faded, are we set for a second and bigger round here that takes USDJPY down through 130.00 and EURJPY likewise? A more significant rally in long US treasuries might be required to bring about a real JPY rampage.