Speculation about the Bank of Japan exiting negative interest rates continues to do the rounds. Yet, despite the talk of a pivot from ultra-loose, the USD/JPY has continued to traverse within the 150 – 152 band for seven straight sessions.
Weaker-than-expected Q3 GDP numbers, a slump in imports, and a more modest rise in exports suggest the need for caution. However, amid the doom and gloom, inflation remains elevated. The inflation environment is pressuring the BoJ to address the matter.
In contrast, other central banks are reaching the end of their rate hike cycles. The dynamics suggest that Yen strength is on the horizon.
Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda appears to be readying the markets for a decisive policy maneuver. In recent speeches, Ueda dropped the need for wage growth to tighten policy. However, a BoJ maneuver could hinge on the seasonal wage talks between unions and companies.
On Tuesday, November 14, BoJ Deputy Gov. Shinichi Uchida discussed plans to incentivize firms to boost wages with corporate profits.
With no economic indicators from Japan to consider, more decisive forward guidance on BoJ policy could break the yen free from its current range.
US Housing Market and Fed Speakers Will Be in Focus
On Friday, US housing market figures for October will draw investor interest. A larger-than-expected slide in building permits and housing starts could align with bets on a housing sector recession.
The US construction sector accounts for less than 10% of the US economy. However, a housing recession fuels foreclosures and a house price correction and affects consumer confidence. Waning consumer confidence could signal a negative outlook on spending, impacting the US economy.
US private consumption contributes over 60% to the US economy. The impact of a housing sector recession on consumers and the US economy could be significant. An upward trend in foreclosures would also affect credit conditions, giving consumers less access to credit to drive consumption.
Economists forecast building permits and housing starts to decline by 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively. The numbers are volatile, meaning investors must consider trends and not a monthly figure in isolation.
Beyond the numbers, FOMC members Michael Barr and Mary Daly are on the calendar to speak. Comments relating to the US economy and interest rates need consideration.
The near-term USD/JPY trends hinge on Bank of Japan and Fed speakers. Affirmation of a Fed move toward an H1 2024 rate cut and a BoJ exit from negative rates would fuel an extended slump in the USD/JPY.
USD/JPY Price Action
The USD/JPY remained above the 50-day and 200-day EMAs, sending bullish price signals. A USD/JPY move to 151 would give the bulls a run at the 151.889 resistance level.
Central bank speakers and US housing sector numbers will influence sentiment toward the USD/JPY.
A fall through the 150.201 support level would bring the 50-day EMA into view.
The 14-day RSI at 53.26 indicates a USD/JPY break above the 151.889 resistance level before entering overbought territory.