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Wednesday September 22, 2010 - 14:17:26 GMT
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Forex Blog - No Japan Yen Sales Ahead of Obama-Kan Meeting Thursday (FXA)

With Prime Minister Kan on record stating he hopes to impart a better understanding of Japan’s currency policy in a sidebar meeting in Manhattan around the UN annual General Assembly meeting, we think the risk of Japan intervention is virtually zero regardless of the level or pace of USDJPY decline. Anything less would surely be a finger in the eye of the President where Japan’s operation last week was not welcomed. How do we know this? Most obvious signal is that Japan acted unilaterally, but more specifically Japan did not get the assistance of foreign central banks including the Fed which US Treasury would sign off on – Fed (ECB and BOE) would sell yen on behalf of the BOJ in "normal" unilateral intervention operations. And then we hear how displeased US Treasury Secretary Geithner was over this action coming just days ahead of his grilling in Congress over US currency policy and China’s alleged FX manipulation. The intervention by Japan was seen weakening Geithner’s case against China for doing much the same (preventing market forces from setting the level), if on a far grander scale. While US officials never went on record over Japan’s adventurist FX policy, EU’s top finance minister (and Luxembourg Prime Minister) Juncker said it was unwelcomed and BOC’s Carney was critical of the operation. Europe and Canada see FX rigidity in Asia as channeling more of the global adjustment process through the major floating currencies including EUR and CAD.

And with the Fed signaling Tuesday that QE2 is ready to sail at the November FOMC meeting the potency of even unsterilized intervention by Japan was severely undermined. Fed printing presses are ready to go to work again and that swamps large scale unsterilized intervention by Japan on my policy scale. No wonder reports emerged earlier today that the BOJ is considering more easing measures (QE – despite Japan’s reluctance to confirm it has started QE with unsterilized intervention, new measures will surely be in this vein or could even involve an inflation target).

Finally, Japan currency manipulation has never been only about official yen sales (or purchases). Proxy intervention is a close substitute and often deployed – when gvt agencies find a reason to sell yen at key chart levels. Expect this to continue despite the sensitivity of Japan’s gvt to US admin ahead of and after the Obama-Kan currency discussions Thursday.

David Gilmore

 

 

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