Forex Blog: Currency Trading News & Analysis.

March 14th 2008

The Yen Marches On

In recent periods of Dollar Weakness, all of the major currencies have been quick to capitalize- all but the Japanese Yen.  After a while, it became clear that the Yen was being held down by carry traders, who sold Yen in favor of higher-yielding, more risky currencies.  It was long believed that the only thing that would shake the Yen loose from its moorings was not a Japanese interest rate hike or economic growth, but volatility in capital and forex markets.  Sure enough, the explosion of the credit crisis induced a rapid appreciation in the Yen.  Yesterday, it crashed through the psychological milestone of 100 for the first time since 1995.

But can the Yen sustain this momentum? On paper, if the Dollar continues to fall, it seems the answer is ‘Yes.’ However, Japan’s economy is extremely dependent on exports. In fact, 50% of its 2007 GDP growth can be attributed to exports. With the Dollar crashing, Japan’s exports are becoming less competitive, and its exports to the US (estimated at $150 Billion) are in jeopardy. In addition, Japanese consumers are notoriously tight-fisted, so it’s unclear who would pick up the slack if the export sector falters.  This begs another question: will the Bank of Japan be forced to intervene in currency markets (like it did in 1995) in order to prevent its economy from dipping into recession? The Wall Street Journal reports:

Its big budget deficit makes a stimulus package more difficult. Intervention — which Tokyo also tried in 2004 during a bout of yen strength — would fly in the face of efforts by the U.S. and other nations to let markets decide currency values.

Read More: Japan Economy Quakes Anew As Yen Soars Against Dollar

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Posted by Adam Kritzer | in Japanese Yen | No Comments »

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