FX:NZDJPY   New Zealand Dollar / Japanese Yen


1. The Monetary Policy outlook for the RBNZ

At their October meeting, the RBNZ delivered on market expectations and raised the OCR by 25-basis points to an OCR of 0.50%. As the 25- basis point hike was already fully priced in, the fact that the bank did not provide any new additional information saw a textbook buy-therumour-sell-the-fact price reaction with the NZD pushing lower. As has recently been the case with most central bank commentary, there was additional focus on the RBNZ expecting that headline CPI inflation to increase above 4 percent in the near term, but the most important part of that part of the statement was the subsequent comment that the bank still sees CPI returning towards the 2 percent midpoint over the medium term. Furthermore, the most important take away from the RBNZ statement for us was that ‘the current COVID-19-related restrictions have not materially changed the medium-term outlook for inflation and employment since the August Statement’. Thus, despite recent covid concerns, inflation concerns and energy concerns, that part of the statement acknowledged that nothing has changed in terms of the bank’s OCR projections released at the August meeting. Unsurprisingly, the bank also stated that their future rate path is contingent on the mediumterm outlook for inflation and employment, which means keeping close tabs on incoming data and the virus situation will remain a key focus
for us in the weeks and months ahead. With the bank now being the first to hike rates among the major central banks and sitting on the highest cash rate among the majors, and with an OCR projection that is still head and shoulders above the rest, the bias for the NZD remains firmly titled to the upside as the bank remains the most hawkish among the major central banks. As interest rates keeps rising, we think the currency’s carry attractiveness will be a key focus point for the NZD in the months ahead.

2. Developments surrounding the global risk outlook.

As a high-beta currency, the NZD benefited from the market's improving risk outlook coming out of the pandemic as participants moved out of safe-havens. As a pro-cyclical currency, the NZD enjoyed upside alongside other cyclical assets supported by reflation and post-recession recovery best. If expectations for the global economy remains positive the overall positive outlook for risk sentiment should be supportive for the NZD in the med-term , but recent short-term jitters are a timely reminder that risk sentiment is also a very important short-term driver.

3. The country’s economic and health developments

So far, the virus situation in New Zealand has been a flash in the pan worry. The government has been able to trace the source of the recent outbreak and should be able to keep the situation under control. Any further escalation though will be important to watch.

4. CFTC Analysis

Latest CFTC data showed a positioning change of -2190 with a net non-commercial position of +8052. The flush lower in the NZD after the RBNZ was in line with our expectations as the bar for a hawkish surprise was quite high going into the meeting. However, after the buy-the-rumour- sell-the-fact reaction and subsequent flush lower, the NZD is back at some very attractive med-term levels, especially versus the low-yielding currencies like the JPY and the CHF, thus we like the odds of looking for med-term allocations to the upside in the NZDJPY and NZDCHF .



1. Safe-haven status and overall risk outlook

As a safe-haven currency, the market's risk outlook is the primary driver of JPY. Economic data rarely proves market moving; and although monetary policy expectations can prove highly market-moving in the short-term, safe-haven flows are typically the more dominant factor. The market's overall risk tone has improved considerably following the pandemic with good news about successful vaccinations, and ongoing monetary and fiscal policy support paved the way for markets to expect a robust global economic recovery. Of course, there remains many uncertainties and many countries are continuing to fight virus waves, but as a whole the outlook has kept on improving over the past couple of months, which would expect safe-haven demand to diminish and result in a bearish outlook for the JPY.

2. Low-yielding currency with inverse correlation to US10Y

As a low yielding currency, the JPY usually shares an inverse correlation to strong moves in yield differentials, more specifically in strong moves in US10Y . However, like most correlations, the strength of the inverse correlation between the JPY and US10Y is not perfect and will ebb and flow depending on the type of market environment from a risk and cycle point of view. The rangebound price action in US10Y from July saw our conviction for more upside in USDJPY take a knock, and we have been waiting for US10Y to make a more sustainable break before we look to add longs in USDJPY . This week, we finally saw US10Y being able to clear the key 1.38% level that has acted as strong resistance since July. Thus, as long as US10Y manages to stay above 1.38% we would look for pull backs in USDJPY to look for med-term buy opportunities. However, since 1.38% was such a key level, any break and close below 1.38% for the US10Y would be an automatic trigger to reduce any exposure.

3. CFTC Analysis

Latest CFTC data showed a positioning change of +1066 with a net non-commercial position of -63694. The past few days of price action in the JPY was mostly driven by the excessive moves we saw in yields on the US side, with US10Y continuing to grind higher despite a softer US jobs report as inflation fears saw additional downside for bonds across the board. The inverse correlation to US10Y saw massive downside versus for the JPY this week ahead. As always, any major risk off flows can still support the JPY, especially with quite a sizable net-short position still built up in the currency for large speculators as well as leveraged funds.


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