FX Trading focus: What is the quality of this USD sell-off…and JPY rally?
The USD move overnight looked suspicious as it came just after midnight GMT – perhaps led by a run on stop orders above yesterday’s post-ECB meeting high around 1.0030? Hmm – the move was broad-based, so not entirely convinced. China set its yuan reference rate sharply higher than expected about an hour later, and then the BoJ Kuroda comments discussed below came on board. The move in EURUSD happening in Asian hours rather in the context of the ECB meeting having already sharply boosted EU yields earlier in the day yesterday has me scratching my head and wondering at the quality of this USD move lower – and wanting to reserve judgment on what is going on here at least until the end of today’s/this week’s action and possibly until we see how the market treats the EU’s power price cap plan after the summit on the matter in Brussels today and then next Tuesday’s US August CPI release.
It is no major surprise that some stern words from Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda were able to inspire a sharp consolidation lower in USDJPY after its wild extension higher recently that seemed a bit excessive relative to the support from coincident fundamental indicators like global long sovereign yields/spreads. After meeting Prime Minister Kishida overnight, Kuroda said that “sudden moves in foreign exchange rates increase uncertainty for firms and are undesirable.” And “ a two to three yen move against the dollar in a single day is very sudden.” A couple of figures on a comment are easy, more would require a more notable retreat in global yields and commodity prices and perhaps real intervention.
By the way, an FT article with the provocative title “Can Japan feed itself” makes clear that food prices have been capped by the Japanese supermarket industry for some time now at the retail level and are set for a significant reset on October 1. This will mean a leap in the official CPI numbers from the month of October. At the same time, PM Kishida is readying a new raft of packages aimed at supporting lower income households cost-of-living challenges. There is a chicken and egg problem here with price controls and preventing cost-of-living increases on the one hand and the Bank of Japan theoretically waiting for the Godot of wages beginning to rise to signal that inflation is becoming more embedded. With cost-of-living support, the wage earner is less likely to demand a raise…. Something is going to have to give, but it’s hard to believe that a stern few phrases from Kuroda will do the trick, although this could be the beginning of a far more choppy JPY trajectory from here, as from these levels or lower in the JPY, the Ministry of Finance may be willing to throw billions of intervention into the mix in an attempt to halt further JPY declines.
BoJ comments overnight have triggered a significant slide in USDJPY, if one not yet as large as the two-day rally
that sent the pair soaring all the way to the cusp of 145.00 two days ago. A retreat and close anywhere close to 140.00 today would create an interesting shooting star formation for the weekly candlestick, although really the pair needs to wipe out a great proportion of the move from the pivot low in early August at 130.40 to suggest a more profound reversal is afoot here. Meanwhile, a close today in the 142-143 range suggests that little harm has been done, even tactically, to the USDJPY up-trend.