Presenting The BOJ's Failed Stealth Yen Intervention

On October 31, we highlighted a rapid and dramatic move higher in the JPY crosses, the day after it closed at the all time high against the dollar, which lasted for a few minutes, and which was later sourced to a technical glitch and not to actual BOJ intervention. Perhaps the fact that the half life of the intervention was  negligible is why no central bank would ever care to admit it was their doing, especially not the pedantic and results-focused BoJ. The story was promptly buried. Yet as Barclays' Masafumi Yamamoto points out, after digging through BoJ current account source data, there is a conspicuous Y0.6 trillion hole that can not be explained otherwise except by attributing the Halloween JPY spike to a stealth BOJ intervention. If that is indeed the case, it highlights something very troubling: namely that not even $5-6 billion dollar intervention purchases stand a chance of pushing the FX needle much in any direction, if at all. Which is to be expected: after all, the other side of the trade is about to see $1,000 billion in dollar selling courtesy of the Fed, which drowns out any BoJ noise. But what is more worrying is that having seen the disastrous impact of its stealth intervention, the BoJ may be dissuaded from intervening in the FX market any more, as it would be loath to lose any more credibility in the FX markets. Nonetheless, as the USDJPY is about to breach all time low supports once again, it should be obvious to confirm or deny if the BOJ has given up in its attempts to diffuse an armed, strapping and dangerous chairman.


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