Although there were no major releases out of Japan last week, the yen showed a fair bit of volatility. Much of the movement can be attributed to market speculation as to what measures the Abe government and Bank of Japan will take in the next few weeks. The yen slipped on Wednesday on speculation that the government was planning a large fiscal spending package. However, the currency reversed directions and climbed on Thursday after BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda flatly rejected the use of “helicopter money” – or increasing the budget deficit by a permanent increase in monetary base – in order to combat deflation. This tool is seen as an alternative to quantitative easing and some economists have suggested it could be used in Japan, with interest rates in negative territory and the economy in danger of recession. Kuroda added that the bank has not changed its stance of adopting further easing by way of quantitative easing, qualitative easing or lowering interest rates. The Bank of Japan meets for a policy meeting on Thursday and the markets will be looking for hints as to what, if any, monetary steps the bank will choose to implement.
The USD/JPY ratio is currently showing long positions with a majority (55%), indicative of trader bias towards USD/JPY breaking out and moving towards higher ground.