RTTNews - Wednesday, the yen extended its yesterday's uptrend against other major currencies as Asian stocks tumbled today and prompted investors to further liquidate yen short positions ahead of a policy statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day.
Asian shares plunged today after losses on Wall Street and as investors locked in profits as they waited to hear what the U.S. Federal Reserve would say about prospects for recovery in the world's largest economy.
Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 1.17%, South Korea's Kospi Composite fell 0.87%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.93% lower while China's Shanghai Composite slipped 2.93% and Taiwan's main index dropped 0.15%.
The Fed will conclude its two-day policy meeting and release a statement around 2:15 pm ET today, with investors looking to its assessment of the economy and whether it unwinds some of the unconventional easing measures currently in place.
There is mounting speculation that Fed might grow more optimistic about a recovery after a better-than-expected jobs report for July.
The U.S. Labor Department report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 247,000 jobs in July following a revised decrease of 443,000 jobs in June. Economists had been expecting employment to fall by 325,000 jobs compared to the drop of 467,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month. The Labor Department also said that the unemployment rate unexpectedly edged down to 9.4% in July from 9.5%, recording a decrease for the first time since April 2008.
The Fed has kept its target rate for overnight loans between banks in a range from zero to 0.25 percent since December. The Federal Open Market Committee will keep rates unchanged today, analysts expect. The central bank has bought $252.761 billion of U.S. Treasuries since it announced a six-month plan in March to purchase $300 million of Treasuries to help keep borrowing low.
Japan's corporate goods price index fell at a record pace in July, adding to concerns that deflation in the world's second largest economy is accelerating.
The Bank of Japan's CGPI data, which tracks prices of domestically produced and used goods traded among companies, plunged 8.5% in July from a year earlier, breaking the record 6.7% drop set in the previous month. Moreover, this was the seventh consecutive month of decline.
Today's results will likely heighten fears of persistent price falls in Japan, as overall economic activity has yet to show signs of a full-fledged recovery.
Still, BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said at a regular press conference on Tuesday that the BOJ doesn't expect Japan to fall into a deflationary spiral now, though it may take time for falls in prices to end.
On a monthly basis, the domestic CGPI rose 0.4% in July, following the 0.3 percent decline in the previous month.
Meanwhile, a final report from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed that Japan's industrial production growth in June came in at 2.3% on a monthly basis, revised down from 2.4% estimated initially. From the previous year, production plunged 23.5%.
The yen that closed yesterday's trading at 96.01 against the dollar strengthened to a 5-day high of 95.35 during Asian deals on Wednesday. The next upside target level for the yen is seen at 94.7.
The yen plunged to near an 8-week low of 97.80 against the dollar on August 07 as the dollar gained 2% on that day following better-than-expected U.S. jobs data.
But the yen is showing strength this week on encouraging economic reports from Japan. Reports showed this week that Japan's current account surplus and the machinery orders rose more than expected in June. Thus far, the yen has advanced 2.5% against the dollar.
In Asian trading on Wednesday, the yen rose to a 9-day high of 134.91 against the euro. This may be compared to yesterday's closing value of 135.84. On the upside, 133 level is seen as the next target for the Japanese currency.
After hitting a 2-month low of 138.73 against the euro on Friday, the yen has appreciated 3% thus far.
The yen jumped to a 12-day high of 157.29 against the pound in Asian deals on Wednesday. If the yen edges up further, it may likely target the 154.2 level. The pound-yen pair was worth 158.21 at yesterday's close.
Thus far this week, the yen has depreciated 3% against the pound.
During Asian deals on Wednesday, the yen soared to a 12-day high of 88.16 against the Swiss franc. The next target level for the Japanese currency is seen at 87.1. At yesterday's close, the franc-yen pair was quoted at 88.78.
The yen that slumped to near an 8-week low of 90.74 against the franc on Friday has gained 3% since then.
In Asian deals on Wednesday , the yen jumped to a 13-day high of 78.47 against the Aussie and an 8-day high of 63.33 against the NZ dollar. The next upside target level for the yen is seen at 77.0 against the aussie and 63.0 against the kiwi. The aussie-yen pair closed trading at 79.63 and the kiwi-yen pair at 64.09 on Tuesday.
Consumer confidence in Australia rose to a near two-year high in August, as reported today by Westpac Bank and the Melbourne Institute. The group said its index of consumer sentiment was up 2.7 percent compared to July, reaching its highest level since October 2007. The index has increased 27.8 percent since May, making it the sharpest three-month gain since the survey's inception in 1975.
Against the Canadian dollar, the yen surged up to a 2-week high of 86.53 in Asian trading on Wednesday. On the upside, 86.3 is seen as the next target level for the Japanese currency. At yesterday's close, the loonie-yen pair was quoted at 87.15.
The loonie declined as oil steadied below $70 a barrel today after four consecutive days of losses as the market waited for a second set of U.S. inventory data and kept an eye on the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day meeting.
U.S. light crude for September delivery rose 9 cents to $69.54 a barrel in Asian deals, having lost $1.15 on Tuesday on Wall Street losses and after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) revised lower its global oil demand forecast. London Brent crude fell 6 cents to $72.40.
Looking ahead, the French July CPI and June current account, Italian final July CPI, Euro-zone June industrial production, U.K. labor market reports as well as the Bank of England's quarterly inflation report are expected to influence trading in the upcoming session.
From the U.S., the trade balance report for June is due at 8:30 am ET.
At the same time, the Canadian June trade balance and new housing price index reports are scheduled for release.
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