Big (risk) in Japan
We have two huge events for JPY on Friday in Japan
On Friday in Japan we have CPI numbers and then BOJ nominee Ueda attending his first hearing in the Lower House. These can both be big movers for JPY.
Core inflation is expected to rise to 4.2% vs 4.0% pr y/y.
If this number is hotter than expected, yen could gain significantly at least on a kneejerk reaction. The opposite is likely if the number is softer than expected and/or lower than last month. Whatever the move, the market will still be thinking about Ueda next so any significant move may revert to a more neutral stance quickly after.
This is a tough trade. On one hand we have the risk that he’s being brought in as a changing of the (monetary policy) guard. Someone who’s not of the old ‘team easing’. That in itself is hawkish if true. But, on the other, even if he is being implemented to lead Japan out of the ultra loose policy, he won’t be doing so in a rush and keeping markets from getting too expectant will be his ultimate task.
So, finding the balance in any comments is going to be important. The last thing he is likely to do is rock the boat with any big hard hitting comments in his first real public event. For example, he could say an exit will be looked at but then counter by saying something like it might take 10 years to get there. There really is a ton of permutations we can find for this, both hawkish and dovish, and that means potentially big volatility for markets.
How to trade it
Purely from a risk perspective, I think the lowest risk trade might be to buy a dip in USDJPY on a strong CPI number to hold into/over Ueda. If he plays it ultra safe on exit talk, JPY pairs are likely to rally. If the market quickly fades a drop in USDJPY on the CPI, that could give longs some trading margin to play with into Ueda.
On the otherside of the pair, USD is still bullish while expectations for the Fed remain more hawkish, so dips are currently very shallow while US yields hold up on their highs. Therefore, long USDJPY is the path of least resistance. But, the risk is if the CPI is strong, and Ueda is hawkish, and then we’re likely to see a much bigger downside move. On that scenario there’s going to be a battle between a newly hawkish BOJ and a currently hawkish Fed. If I had to pick a side, I would pick the JPY side as the BOJ turning hawkish would be a far bigger and longer-term event than whether the Fed is possibly going to take their rate ceiling up a mere 50bps from 5.5% to 6%.
In trading we often try to cover all the bases when trying to pick a trade but for me, I always look for the one that has, in my opinion, the least risk. Therefore, there may be many other trades to take, on many other possible outcomes but when I take a step back and look at all the parts (US & Japan) from a wider perspective, this is the one I like the most. Does it mean it will succeed? No. Does it mean I will definitely get a trade? No. In the first instance, I won’t be interested if there not a significant move over the CPI. Plus, I am still running some core shorts down to 131 so I may even use a strong CPI number to reduce or get out of that trade, with the consideration of Ueda sending USDJPY much higher.
On the tech front, we have a big closing confluence area high 136’s, low 137’s, then 138’s
To the downside, 133.00/132.80 is the first big level. then 131.50-131.00/25.
Maybe the best advice I can give to traders is that as this is a big risk event, it does no harm to stay out and wait until the dust settles so that we have a clear idea of what may follow. No one is going to miss a big trend move in one moment. Yes, we may miss the start, or a big initial move but something like the BOJ changing stance won’t be “priced” in one day. The saying “If in doubt, stay out” has served me well lover the years.
Whatever you do, however you trade, please trade safe and good luck.