A Yen for a Lower Yen

Focus: CURRENCIES

Ashraf Laidi Image Ashraf Laidi Chief Global Strategist, CIty Index/FX Solutions

A drop in the value of the yen would help Japanese exports, yet these stronger exports aren’t likely to produce a quick counter effect against the rise of the yen, and neither has the drop in bond yields. Currency expert, Ashraf Laidi of City Index/FX Solutions, offers an analysis of what else would be needed.

Escalating JPY shorts vs. USD in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange show the highest negative positioning (90,000 contracts) in the currency since the June 2007, but that remains far from the (188,000 contracts) record reached earlier that same year. Back then, USD/JPY was at a five-year high of 124.14, global equities hit new records, private equity deals were raging with extreme leverage, and even busts in US mortgage providers were still under the media radar.

Also in June 2007, yields on 10-year Japanese government bonds jumped by more than 40 bps to exceed 1.80%. The yield rally was broad throughout the global sovereign complex, prompting Japanese investors to flee zero interest rates to chase returns abroad. Unsurprisingly, yields on the US 10-year note also a hit a 5-year high at 5.32%.

chart
Click to Enlarge

Today, the yen is entering its third consecutive monthly decline amid expectations that LDP head Shinzo Abe will force the Bank of Japan into extreme easing of monetary policy.