USD/JPY Gains as Japanese Core CPI Adds to BoJ Easing Speculation
- Yen dropped after core inflation prints below consensus expectations
- CPI ex food, energy (core) rises 0.8% in December from a year ago vs 0.9% forecasted
- Data may have increased the market’s speculation for further BoJ easing
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The USD/JPY exchange rate gained after closely-watched inflation and economic data from Japan crossed the wires. The country’s jobless rate for December matched its consensus forecast and prior reading of 3.3 percent year-over-year – slightly up from the two-decade low established two months ago. Household spending meanwhile was less encouraging with a sharper than-expected annual decline of 4.4 percent (a 2.5 percent drop was forecast). The headline CPI print for the same month was in-line with expectations at 0.2 percent year-on-year, but was down a tick from November’s 0.3 percent figure. Less volatile, core inflation - excluding food and energy - disappointed traders by coming in at 0.8 percent (YoY). Economists estimated a 0.9 percent growth rate.
The Yen’s slide in response to this data likely reflects the markets’ speculation that the news flow increased the potential of BoJ easing moving forward. The Bank of Japan’s Governor Kuroda stated that he expects inflation to reach its 2 percent target near the second half of the 2016 fiscal year. A falling core CPI shows the data is moving in the wrong direction for the central bank. At some point in today’s trading session, Bank of Japan will release its January policy vote though no official time is given for rate decisions. The last time the central bank offered unorthodox support in the form of stimulus was the upgrade to its monthly QQE purchases back on October 31, 2014. The original program was introduced to much fanfare and currency depreciation on April 4, 2013.
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