The sell-off in USD/JPY this evening is one of the top 5 largest moves ever for USD/JPY. Whenever USD/JPY experiences such sharp volatility over a short period of time, the Bank of Japan usually comes in to quell the volatility. The following table shows the Bank of Japan’s actions in response to the top 10 largest moves ever in the currency pair. As you can see, the BoJ came into the market 7 out of the last 10 times USD/JPY experienced such a strong move. The reason why they did not intervene in 1998 was because USD/JPY was trading at 121 at the time. They also did not intervene in 2008 because USD/JPY jumped 5.66 percent, which helps rather than hurts the Japanese economy. Reuters reported that G7 finance ministers will be holding conference call on Japan tomorrow. Intervention by the BoJ is very likely this evening and if that fails to do the trick, the central bank and the Ministry of Finance could make a plea for coordinated intervention when the G7 meets tomorrow.
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This morning, I published an article about how talk of BoJ intervention is keeping USD/JPY above water:
There is a lot of talk this morning that the Bank of Japan is checking currency rates. The Japanese Yen has continued to rise over the past 24 hours and by checking rates, the central bank is keeping a very close eye on where the Yen is trading. Given that it is almost 11pm in Japan right now on a Friday, the central bank is either very serious about intervening in the currency market or they want to keep currency traders on their toes. The 87.00 level for USD/JPY could very well be their breaking point. The risk of intervention is limiting the decline in USD/JPY on a day when the sharp drop in Dow futures should be driving it much lower. Over the past 6 months, we have seen a significant appreciation in the Japanese Yen to the point where the central bank can no longer ignore it. For example, the Yen has risen more than 40 percent against the British pound, Australian and New Zealand dollars.
See chart and continue reading article
This is not the first time in recent history that US interest rates have fallen below Japanese levels. In the past 40 years, this has happened at least 5 times. The most recent time was in 1993.
The following chart illustrates how USD/JPY performs whenever the interest rate spread between the US and Japan dips below zero. As you can see, it almost always precedes a sharp drop in USD/JPY that lasts can last for a number of months.
The US dollar continued to hit new decade lows against the Japanese Yen and is inching closer to my 85 target. As you can see in the chart below, there is no support from here to 85. With US interest rates below Japanese rates, more adjustment is happening in USD/JPY.
I do not think we will see much yen strength past 85. Although the Bank of Japan will not physically interven in the currency market anytime soon, verbal intervention may be on its way.
Also, Fed fund futures suggest that we may have seen the last interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve:
Here are updates on my recent trade calls, hope you banked some of this
12.16.08 USD/JPY to 85 (bottom of article) > FLOATING PROFITS
12.16.08 EUR/USD Headed to 1.43 (bottom of article) > HIT!
12.15.08 AUD/USD Headed to 0.70 > HIT!
12.11.08 EUR/USD Headed to 1.35 >> HIT!
12.08.08 EUR/GBP Headed to 0.90 >> HIT!
USD/JPY hit a 13 year low of 88.22 today after news that the bailout plan is not going happen before the new year. If you have been following my blog, I called for a move down to a new 13 year low Wednesday morning. At that time, USD/JPY was trading at 92.50-93.00. The currency pair has reversed violently after falling to 88.22.
Will the Bank of Japan Intervene?
A big question on everyone’s mind is Will the Bank of Japan intervene. Don’t expect BoJ intervention to happen anytime soon. As an export dependent nation, a strong currency is not in Japan’s best interest. However unlike in the past where the BoJ has intervened when USD/JPY fell below 105 and 100, we may not see any action by the Japanese government this time around. Since the problems are inherent in the US and the Eurozone, intervening at this time may be counterproductive for the Japanese. The only type of intervention that has ever worked is coordinated intervention. The BoJ will have a very tough time convincing the Americans to take any steps that would lead to further strength in the US dollar. The Japanese government needs to stand aside and allow the US and Eurozone governments to take their measures to spur growth and not strengthen the dollar for their own short term relief.
USD/JPY Chart from 12.10.08