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The yen showed some strength during the week but gave up these gains and more, as USD/JPY  climbed 140 points last week.  There are nine events this week.  Here is an outlook on the major events moving the yen and an updated technical analysis for USD/JPY.

The highlight of the week was the Federal Reserve policy statement. Market analysts noted that previous statements have usually stated that the Fed would maintain low rates for a “considerable time”, but the December statement changed terminology, saying the Fed would be “patient” before raising rates. The statement was followed by a hawkish Yellen, which pushed hard on the yen.  Yellen was more clear than the Fed statement, hinting broadly  that the Fed could raise rates as early as the second quarter of 2015. In Japan, the BOJ maintained its monetary stance,  a policy which  has led to a yen trading at multi-year lows against the US dollar.

[do action=”autoupdate” tag=”USDJPYUpdate”/]

USD/JPY graph with support and resistance lines on it:

USDJPYForecast Dec.22-26

  1. BOJ Monthly Report: Monday, 5:00.  This minor report contains statistical data as well as a detailed analysis of current and future economic conditions. It  is unlikely to have much  effect on USD/JPY.  
  2. BOJ Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, 23:50.  The minutes provide details of the BOJ’s previous policy meeting late last week. At the meeting, the BOJ maintained its monetary stimulus at  a pace of ¥80 trillion annually.
  3. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda Speaks: Thursday, 3:45.  Kuroda will speak in Tokyo. The markets will be looking for hints regarding the BOJ’s future monetary policy.
  4. Household Starts: Thursday, 5:00.  The indicator continues to post sharp declines. The October release came in at -12.3%, better  than the estimate of -14.5%.  trade deficits, with the last release improving to JPY -0.98 trillion. The markets are expecting more of the same in the November release, with an estimate of -12.6%.
  5. Household Spending: Thursday, 23:30. Household Spending is an important consumer spending release. The indicator continues to post declines, pointing to a concerned consumer who is cutting back on spending. The previous reading came in at -4.0%, beating the estimate of -4.8%. The markets are expecting a decline of 3.5% in the upcoming release.
  6. Tokyo Core CPI: Thursday, 23:50. This index is the primary gauge of consumer inflation, and should be treated by traders as a market-mover. The indicator has been slowly losing ground since mid-year, and dropped to 2.4% in November, just above  the forecast of 2.3%. The  downward trend is expected to continue, with the December estimate standing  at 2.3%.  
  7. Preliminary Industrial Production: Thursday, 23:50. This is important manufacturing indicator tends to show a fair amount of fluctuation, resulting in readings that are often far off the estimates. In November, the indicator came in at +0.2%, surprising the markets which had forecast a reading of -0.4%. The forecast for December stands at 1.0%. Will the indicator meet or beat this rosy prediction?
  8. Retail Sales: Thursday, 23:50. Retail Sales is the primary gauge of consumer spending, a key component of economic growth. The indicator has been posting strong gains, with the November release coming in at 1.4%, just shy of the forecast of 1.5%. The forecast for the December reading is 1.2%.
  9. Average Cash Earnings: Friday, 1:30. This indicator helps measure disposable income, which is closely connected to consumer spending. The indicator has been on a sharp downward trend and slipped to 0.5% last month, its lowest reading since June. Another gain of 0.5% is expected in the upcoming release.

* All times are GMT

USD/JPY Technical Analysis

Dollar/yen started the week at 118.61.  The pair  fell all the way to  115.62, but then rebound sharply, climbing to 119.62, as  resistance held firm at 119.88  (discussed last week). USD/JPY closed the week at 119.56.

Live chart of USD/JPY: [do action=”tradingviews” pair=”USDJPY” interval=”60″/]

Technical lines from top to bottom:

124.16 marked the start of a yen rally  in June 2007, which saw  USD/JPY drop to the 96 level.

122.19 remains a strong resistance line which has held firm since July 2007.   The next resistance line is  121.39.

119.88 held firm as the dollar recovered and moved higher. It is a weak line and will be under pressure at the start of the week.

117.94  is providing support. It began the week under pressure but has strengthened as the pair trades above  119.

116.82  was  tested for the first time since  mid-November. At  that time, the dollar was in the  midst of a rally which saw USD/JPY climb above the 121 line.

114.65  has  remained intact since December 2007, when the yen  posted a  strong rally which saw USD/JPY drop below the 96 line.

113.79 is the final support level for now. It has held firm since early November.

I am  bullish  on  USD/JPY

The yen posted some impressive gains two weeks ago, but the dollar has recovered as USD/JPY is knocking on the doorstep of the key 120 level. Will the pair push above this line next week? The divergence in monetary stance  continues to  favor the dollar. With the large number of Japanese events this week, USD/JPY could be busy.

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Further reading: