Dollar Up, Yen Down in a Tale of Two Central Banks

By Gina Lee – The dollar was up on Monday morning in Asia, recording slight gains on the Japanese yen to as much as 119.3 yen and challenging the six-year peak of 119.39 touched on Friday.

The U.S. Dollar Index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies inched up 0.05% to 98.278 by 11:47 PM ET (3:47 AM GMT).

The USD/JPY pair inched up 0.01% to 119.19, with Japanese markets closed for a holiday.

The AUD/USD pair edged down 0.19% to 0.7401, while the NZD/USD pair inched up 0.04% to 0.6905.

The USD/CNY pair inched up 0.04% to 6.3640 while the GBP/USD pair edged down 0.16% to 1.3159.

The yen continued to drop on Monday, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars remained bid. A slew of global central bank policymakers, including U.S. Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, will also speak throughout the week.

Moves in the pair could slow this week, but the dollar will climb further on the yen in the coming months as the gap between U.S. and Japanese interest rates widens, CBA analysts predicted.

“Japan’s inflation dynamic is very different to that experienced in other major economies we monitor. As a result, an exit from the ultra-easy monetary policy by the Bank of Japan (BOJ)remains a long way off in our view,” they added.

BOJ kept its dovish policy as it handed down its policy decision on Friday. This contrasted with the Fed’s approach, which saw it hike its interest rate the previous Wednesday.

CME’s Fedwatch predicted a nearly a 90% chance of at least 75 basis points of increases across the Fed’s meetings in May and June 2022. Such high expectations helped the dollar climb steadily in the early part of this year, but with many Fed increases already priced in, it could struggle to gain further, according to some investors.

“Given already-hawkish market expectations of Fed tightening, it is hard to foresee greenback strength persisting beyond the near term,” Barclays (LON:BARC) analysts told Reuters.

The yen also hit a four-year low against the riskier Australian dollar, which has received a boost from the recent rise in commodity prices.

Further gains could be possible as the Fed’s hiking cycle is now priced in, and because of the ongoing recovery in global risk sentiment, which would typically support risk-friendly currencies, the Barclays analysts added.

The euro was at $1.1044, with the conflict in Ukraine dictating the future of the both the single currency and the pound. Speeches from policymakers at the European Central Bank, including president Christine Lagarde, might also play a role.

Fighting continues in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24. Russia called on Ukraine to lay down arms in the southern port city of Mariupol, but Ukraine insisted that there is no question of surrendering the city.

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