Japanese Yen Flat As FOMC Outweighs Production Gauge
THE TAKEAWAY: Japan All Industry Activity Index Rises At Much Slower Rate > Private-Sector Housing Strong While Manufacturing and Services Stagnant > JPY Continues to Trade Flat
Source: FXCM Strategy Trader
The Yen continued to trade flat as of 05:00 GMT after a broad gauge measuring production across all industries in the Japanese economy pointed to a slowdown in economic activity. After briefly depreciating on worse-than-expected export numbers, the Yen has since remained in the 76.30 to 76.40 range versus the US Dollar. The Relative Strength Index continues to remain near 50, indicating a lack of either strong buying or selling pressure.
The All Industry Activity Index (Seasonally-Adjusted) rose 0.4 percent MoM in July, down from a revised 2.2 percent MoM gain in June. Market expectations had been for a 0.5 percent rise. Year-over-year, the index was down 0.8 percent. A primary contributor to the rise was private-sector housing, which rose 3.4 percent, while the primary detractors were private-sector civil engineering (-7.9 percent) and public-sector civil engineering (-4.6 percent). Industrial production and the services sector both remained stagnant at 0.4 percent and -0.1 percent, respectively.
The modest rise in the Index falls significantly short of the increases seen in the three months immediately following the March earthquake, and points to a slowdown in the post-disaster recovery. A sharp appreciation of the Yen, in addition to a global economic slowdown, contributed to the deceleration.
The Yen remains range-bound as the market awaits the FOMC statement to be released later on Sept. 21. Market participants will be in particular seeking any language indicating a resumption of monetary stimulus in the United States, a factor that will help determine risk appetite over the next few days. Perceptions that stimulus measures are exceedingly modest would likely benefit safe-haven currencies such as the Yen.
Aside from risk aversion, the performance of the Yen will be driven in the longer term by the degree of market intervention by the Bank of Japan. The Japanese government has already announced fiscal measures – including Prime Minister Noda’s unveiling of a plan yesterday to subsidize factory construction – to aid businesses struggling in the face of a strong Yen. Should these measures prove insufficient, further intervention can be expected.
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