Japanese Economic Story – Trading The Yen

I am fascinated by Japan’s economic story – and an absolutely huge fan of trading the Japanese Yen (JPY). In fact, I would attribute the majority of my trading profits over the past few years to trades involving the Yen vs the commodity currencies. The moves are usually quite large, and more importantly for me –  the fundamental story keeps me on the right side of the trade.

Japan’s monetary policy is extremely accommodative and “quantitative easing” is more or less a mainstay. 

The Japanese model is well worth studying, as it serves well as a possible pre cursor to what the Americans may soon expect to see – as a result of their “more than accommodative” monetary policy. Some economists project that the U.S is headed down the exact same path as Japan – and advise that the end result may not be exactly…….what’s desired.

Japan’s debt to GDP ratio is now well over 200% if you can get your head wrapped around that. Interestingly (very interestingly) only 5 % of that debt is held by foreign countries, while around 50% of the U.S debt is currently held by foreign countries. This is where things get interesting.

Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is on track for a stunning victory in Monday’s election, returning to power with hawkish former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the helm.

An LDP win would usher in a government committed to a tough stance in a territorial row with China, a pro-nuclear power energy policy despite last year’s Fukushima disaster, and a radical recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy and big fiscal spending to end persistent deflation and tame a strong yen.

Short term I see the Yen sitting at a well-known level of support and in all would favor a bounce here, but with the election panning out as it should –  it’s safe to say that the currency wars will continue as Japan is likely be the next country announcing  further monetary stimulus and easing.

Go Ahead BOJ – Make My Day!

There is considerable expectation that with tonight’s monetary policy announcement – The Bank of Japan will be adding to its current easing program – and continue to expand its balance sheets.

What does this mean to me as a trader?

It will likely contribute to further Yen weakness if indeed further easing is announced……and provide for some excellent trading opportunities.

Regardless…..as money generally  flows “out” of safe haven currencies (such as the Yen and the U.S dollar)  and “in” to risk related currencies (such as the AUD and NZD) I see fantastic trade opportunities developing in pairs such as AUD/JPY, NZD/JPY as well as CAD/JPY.

The Australian , New Zealand and Canadian currencies  are often referred to as the “CommDolls” in that these countries are large producers and exporters of such commodities as gold, silver, and oil.

So…..What would anyone consider the Yen a safe haven?