FX Trading focus: JPY drop extends despite consolidation in global bond yields
The Japanese yen weakening move continued apace overnight in the wake of an upward Q1 GDP revision and a solid uptick in the May Eco Watchers Survey. The aggressive extension lower in the currency looks slightly odd, given that global bond yields, and especially US Treasury yields, saw a solid consolidation lower yesterday. Looking at the origins of this latest leg lower in the JPY, the move in USDJPY began on May 31, the day when US long treasury yields halted their slide lower and lifted off from their consolidation lows as well. But a good friend and far-more-clever market observer than I argues that the move makes sense in light of a shift in the wording on that very day of a new fiscal draft away from a commitment to balancing the budget by 2025. This did merely make explicit something that was widely considered unlikely anyway, and other countries are hardly likely to get their fiscal houses in order before the next recession strikes (presumably well before 2025), but it is an FX negative, together with other recent signs the PM Kishida has few qualms with the current BoJ policy mix and is therefore more likely to nominate someone like him when Kuroda’s term expires next year.
But the aggressive move lower in the JPY also has a clear speculative element, as is visible in rather stretched speculative US futures positioning and indications that “Mrs. Watanabe” is enjoying the strong carry trade as the JPY weakens, going long other currencies like the AUD and especially BRL in recent months. This speculative element and the Japanese external capital flows focus driving a good portion of the JPY weakness (as has so often been the case in the past) is covered very well in a column from Bloomberg’s John Authers today. The question is how late in the game we are here – is this the beginning or middle of a climax phase or do we have months to run? It is hard to tell, the higher yields go and the lower the JPY goes, the more explosive the blowback when and if either the BoJ is forced off the YCC commitment, or the speculative bubble plays itself out.
Interesting to watch the JPY move in isolation, but also the CNHJPY exchange rate in coming days as it is interesting to note that China chose to allow its currency to weaken just as the CNHJPY cross was poking at the 20.00 level for the first time since 2015, which was near the time frame in which China chose to dramatically rework its foreign exchange policy. If the USDJPY rate continues higher, we should expect a renewed bout of volatility in the USDCNH rate as well.