The battered yen was stuck near a three-decade low against the dollar on Tuesday, struggling to find a floor as the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) ultra-easy monetary policy settings remained at odds with the prospect of higher-for-longer rates elsewhere.
The Japanese currency slumped to a 15-year low of 162.38 per euro in early Asia trade and slid to a roughly three-month trough of 186.25 per British pound .
Against the dollar, the yen last stood at 151.70 , languishing near a one-year low of 151.92 hit on Monday. A break below last year’s trough of 151.94 per dollar would mark a fresh 33-year low for the yen.
The yen had jumped briefly against the greenback in New York hours on Monday after striking the year-to-date low, which analysts attributed to a flurry of trading in options that come due this week rather than any intervention moves from Japanese authorities.
DTCC data from LSEG’s Eikon platform shows yen options worth a notional $3.5 billion with strike prices between 151.90 and 152 are due to expire between Wednesday and Friday.
“I think options could continue to act as a resistance for dollar/yen,” said Carol Kong, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “So will fears of further BOJ intervention.”
Japanese authorities in September last year intervened in the currency market to boost the yen for the first time since 1998, after a BOJ decision to maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy drove the yen as low as 145 per dollar.
It intervened again in October 2022 after the yen plunged to a 32-year low of 151.94.
Despite the BOJ’s carefully orchestrated steps this year to phase out its controversial yield curve control (YCC) policy and hints of an imminent end to negative interest rates, the piecemeal moves have done little to sustain a rally in the yen, particularly as central banks globally maintain their hawkish rhetoric of higher-for-longer rates.
“I think the market has come to the realisation that the Bank of Japan is going to exit its policy but at a very, very, very slow and cautious pace,” said Rodrigo Catril, senior FX strategist at National Australia Bank (NAB).
Inflation and the Fed
Outside of Asia, traders also had their attention on U.S. inflation figures due later on Tuesday, which will provide further clarity on whether the Federal Reserve would need to raise interest rates even further to tame inflation.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his chorus of policymakers have in recent days pushed back against market expectations that the U.S. central bank was done with its aggressive rate-hike cycle after it held rates steady at its latest policy meeting.
The comments have kept the U.S. dollar bid and against the greenback, the New Zealand dollar fell to an over one-week low of $0.5866.
The kiwi was last 0.17% lower at $0.5867.
Sterling eased 0.03% to $1.2274, while the euro gave up 0.03% to trade at $1.0695.
“Overall, the market is also kind of worn out by all messages coming from central banks and the higher-for-longer and wait-and-see mode is keeping volatility low,” said NAB’s Catril.
“We need to wait for that CPI number tonight, which could be a bit of a shaker. If it’s strong, then obviously it brings in the idea that another rate hike from the Fed is there.”
The U.S. dollar index rose 0.07% to 105.70.
Down Under, the Australian dollar dipped 0.15% to $0.6367.
Domestic data was mixed with Australian business conditions holding firm in October, but consumer confidence sliding in the wake of last week’s rate hike from the Reserve Bank of Australia.
OPTIONS STRIKE PRICES BETWEEN 151.90 AND 152 YEN
|Date of expiry||Nov 15||Nov 16||Nov 17|
|Notional value of options expiring (USD)||2.6 billion||548.7 million||351.1 million|