12 February, 2019
USD/JPY extended gains on Tuesday to test its highest rate in more than six weeks (110.641). The dollar extended Monday’s gains, as concerns about a trade deal with China and an economic slowdown in Europe sent investors into the safe-haven currency. China struck an upbeat note on Monday as trade talks resumed with the United States, but also expressed anger at a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea, casting a shadow over the prospect for improved Beijing-Washington ties. Japan, on the other hand, is heavily reliant on trade with the U.S. and China, so the U.S-China trade war remains a significant concern for policymakers. Although the sides are talking, markets slipped after President Trump that he would not hold a meeting with President Xi prior to the March 2 deadline, when the U.S. is set to impose further tariffs if the sides fail to reach a deal. A third round of negotiations starts this week, with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin joining the talks later in the week. Still, with no signs of progress, there is growing alarm that the sides will not be able to reach a deal by March 2. In addition, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Bank of Japan have come under fire over inflation levels, which have stubbornly remained well below the target of 2.0%, despite the BoJ’s ultra-loose monetary policy. Later this afternoon, US JOLTs Job Openings for December will be released. Also this afternoon, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will speak on “Economic Development in High Poverty Rural Communities” at the Hope Enterprise Corporation Rural Policy Forum.