The Japanese yen continues to strengthen today, particularly against the US dollar. As a safe haven currency, the yen tends to weaken when global growth is accelerating and strengthens during downturns. While the yen began rising following fears of an extended stock market rout, the currency continues to strengthen despite a rebound in most global stock markets. Looking at Japanese domestic data, weak quarterly GDP growth figures and falling machinery exports helped yen strength this week. Turning to monetary policy, the current Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda was appointed for a rare second term, despite his age (73). Kuroda was appointed alongside deputies including BoJ executive director Masayoshi Amamiya and Waseda University professor Masazumi Wakatabe. Both are well-known for their pro-monetary easing views. Unfortunately for the yen, this isn't enough to change the course of the currency as it continues to strengthen. Our short-term and medium-term outlook on the yen remains bullish.
USD/JPY is currently trading above 105.80. EUR/JPY is currently flat and trading above 132.70.
Looking at Japanese economic data, traders will be focused on upcoming GDP figures. Annualized QoQ GDP growth numbers (0.5% vs. 0.9% expected) widely missed estimates. Machinery orders (-5% vs. 2.2% expected) missed expectations by a very wide margin due to falling exports. Industrial output (2.9% vs. 0.5% prior) was higher than previous figures. Cross-border stock (-¥429.5b) and bond (-¥973.2b) investments continue to suggest capital inflows into the country. Last week, cross-border figures also showed that capital was flowing into Japan (strengthening the yen).
As the yen strengthens, we are upgrading the yen to neutral. Looking at the yen on a weekly chart, the currency is trading within normal conditions. This is based on various technical indicators when looking at a weekly chart.