THE TAKEAWAY: Merchandise Trade Balance rose to ¥ 32.9 Billion from -¥ 1476.9 Billion > Traders Bought Yen as the Chance for Further BOJ Inflationary Action in the FX Market Diminished > USDJPY Fell
Data released by the Ministry of Finance and the Customs Office showed that the merchandise trade balance in February rose to 32.9 billion Yenfrom -1476.9 billion Yen. The figure surpassed the -120 billion Yen deficit that analysts expected. Additionally, trade exports fell only 2.7 percent on the year, beating the 6.5 percent drop forecasted and improving upon the 9.3 percent decline the prior year.
The figures painted a rosier than expected picture of an export-dominated Japanese economy and jumped on bears who forecasted a larger drop in the country’s export sector. Though the data did not go as far as suggesting a warming exports industry, they did show the market that Japanese exporters were not faring as poorly as analysts thought. As exports performed better than expected, the likelihood declined that the Bank of Japan would infuse currency markets with more Yen anytime in the near future. As a result, traders positioned themselves closer to the Yen. In the minutes after the release, USDJPY fell from 83.440 to as low as 83.140.