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Talking Points

  • Japanese earnings data ticked up a little more than expected but remain weak
  • The Yen seemed to take them that way and slid against the US Dollar
  • However, regular pay levels continue to rise, albeit slowly

The Japanese Yen slipped on Thursday despite news that cash earnings in its home country picked up by a little more than expected in January.

Official data showed Labor cash earnings up 0.5% compared with the same month in 2015. That was above both the 0.3% rise which markets had expected and December’s 0.1% gain. Real cash earnings were flat, however. That actually rather stronger than the 0.4% fall seen last month.

Any rise in earnings will probably be welcome in Tokyo, where any likely source of pricing power is a pleasant sight. However, pay remains extremely flat, historically speaking and has struggled to rise at all in the last six months.

The report said that regular pay had risen by 0.8% on the year, up for a seventh straight month and the biggest rise since March, 2000. But a crucial time for Japanese pay deals is approaching. Union leaders and representatives of major firms meet this month to agree wage settlements. These are reportedly expected to result in smaller gains than those seen last year.

The Yen slipped against an already rising US Dollar after the data. USD/JPY climbed to 114.49, from 114.41 just before the release.

Already rising: USD/JPY

Yen Slips Following Flat Real Earnings Data

Chart Compiled Using TradingView

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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter: @DavidCottleFX