Talking Points

  • Japan scored a bigger-than-expected trade surplus in November
  • The overall Balance of Payments rose for a 29th straight month
  • USD/JPY was already slipping, these data won’t have helped.

The Yen continued to gain on Thursday after the release of supportive Japanese trade data, but the trend was already for USD/JPY weakness after US President-elect Donald Trump’s Wednesday press conference, and it is hard to gauge the data’s precise impact.

All we can say is that the numbers would probably have been Yen-supportive even without the focus on Washington.

November’s trade balance was revealed to have been in surplus to the tune of ¥ 313.4 billion ($2.72 billion) as imports fell much faster than exports, leaving the old question marks over the country’s internal demand very much in place.

That surplus was well above than the ¥250 billion expected but below the ¥587.6 billion scored in October. However, the broader current account was in the black for a 29th straight month, to the tune of¥1.415 trillion, up 28% on the year. Numbers released at the same time showed that bank lending rose by a punchy 2.6% in December.

USD/JPY had already trickled down from the 115.50 area as trade got under way in Tokyo, and it had got down as far as 114.96 in the wake of the data.

The overall foreign exchange market was already tending towards a little rethink of recent US Dollar strength after Mr. Trump failed to offer much in terms of concrete policy plans at his first substantive meeting with journalists in the US on Wednesday.

Heading lower anyway: USD/JPY

Yen Gains Continue After Trade Data Beat

Chart compiled using TradingView

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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX