USD/JPY at 20-month low after elections



The yen slumped to its lowest level against the dollar after Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which is committed to aggressive monetary easing, won a landslide victory in Sunday’s Japanese elections. The LDP surged back to power giving ex-Premier, Shinzo Abe, another chance to push through his agenda which includes outspoken active steps towards deflation, possibly revival of Japan’s nuclear energy program and a more nationalistic policy that might cause more tense relation towards China.
The dollar rose to 84,18 yen reaching its highest level since April 2011 from around 83,50 yen on Friday. There has been active profit taking in the morning, but USD/JPY is still trading above the 84 level. The Euro jumped to 111.30 yen from 109,81. The Australian dollar climbed above 89 for yen for the first time since May 2011. The Bank of Japan meets later this week and most analysts expect the central bank will ease policy further by asset buying and lending program which will continue to put downward pressure on the yen.
The open question is whether Prime Minister Abe shall follow up on his tough talk. Strategists at Barclays bank recommend long positions in three-month dollar/yen call options on estimates suggesting that a 10 percent multilateral nominal yen depreciation would be needed to get a one-off inflation boost of just 1,5 percent. Other analyst and market participants warned that the yen might be poised for a rebound as Abe’s actions are likely to fall short of tough intentions.
In the US House of Representative Speaker, John Boehner’s offer to accept a tax rate increase for the wealthiest Americans knocks down a key Republican obstacle to deal with the revolving year-end “fiscal cliff”. Boehner shall presumably have offered extended tax hikes for everyone who has less than one million in net annual income. Taxes for all income above USD 1 million shall rise. President Obama’s reaction on this presumed offer is going to be decisive for a possible solution within the 31st December deadline.
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