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USD/JPY Drifting Ahead of Tokyo Core CPI



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  • USD/JPY edges closer to 140
  • Markets await Japanese inflation
  • US Treasury yields jump as debt crisis continues
  • FOMC minutes point to uncertainty over rate path

USD/JPY is drifting higher in the European session, trading at 139.61, up 0.11%. Earlier, USD/JPY touched a high of 139.70, its highest level since November and close to the symbolic 140 level. The yen is under pressure and is down 1.2% this week.

Japanese inflation indicators will be in the spotlight later today. Tokyo Core CPI, which excludes fresh food is projected to ease to 3.3%, down from 3.5%. However, the core rate which excludes fresh food and energy is expected to accelerate from 3.8% to 4.3%, and the headline rate is expected to rise to 3.9%, up from 3.5%. Earlier this week, BoJ Core CPI, the central bank’s preferred inflation gauge, nudged higher to 3.0%, up from 2.9% and above the estimate of 2.8%.

The Bank of Japan will be closely following today’s inflation numbers, and the markets are on alert for any moves or hints from the BoJ. Governor Ueda has toed the Bank’s line that inflation is temporary but if the Tokyo CPI releases show that inflation is accelerating, it will be more difficult for the BoJ to continue insisting that high inflation is temporary.

The US debt ceiling impasse continues, although the sides reported some progress on Wednesday, with a default deadline perhaps just days away. The markets remain nervous and US 10-year Treasury yields have jumped to 3.75, up 1.1% today. The US dollar has also benefited from the debt ceiling crisis as investors have snapped up safe-haven assets. The crisis is already having negative ramifications – on Wednesday, Fitch Ratings put the top-ranked United States sovereign credit rating on “rating watch negative” due to the danger of a US debt ceiling default.

Fed members divided over rates

The FOMC minutes indicated that the Fed is divided over future rate policy. At the May meeting, some members said there was a need for further increases as inflation was not falling fast enough. Other members argued that the economy was cooling and there was no need for more tightening. The vote to hike rates by 25 basis points was unanimous and the members agreed that inflation was unacceptably high and was declining slower than the Fed had expected.

USD/JPY Daily Chart

USD/JPY Technical

  • There is support at 138.37 and 137.45
  • There is resistance at 139.25 and 140.55


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