CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust (NYSEArca: FXB) and CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY) are the worst-performing currency ETFs so far this year with declines of more than 7%.
Currency ETFs could see action this week as the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan all meet and release statements on interest rates.
Also, investors will be looking for any action or hints on further quantitative easing from central banks.
In Japan, investors are “assessing how aggressive the BOJ will be in countering 15 years of deflation after governor Masaaki Shirakawa and his two deputies step down on March 19,” Bloomberg News reports. “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s nominee for governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, yesterday said the central bank should consider buying longer- term debt and indicated that open-ended asset purchases planned for 2014 could start this year.”
The yen’s weakness has helped boost Japanese equity ETFs. For example, WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ) is up about 26% the past three months. The fund invests in Japanese stocks but hedges its currency exposure to the yen. DXJ is the best-selling ETF so far this year with inflows of about $3 billion. [WisdomTree Japan ETF Creates ‘Windfall’]
“The Japanese government’s nominees for the Bank of Japan’s two deputy governors offered contrasting policy views on Tuesday, as one described a bold path to meet an inflation target and the other often declined to commit to unconventional policy steps,” Reuters reports. “The differing views could raise questions as to how aggressive the BOJ will be as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushes for an overhaul of the central bank’s management to encourage bolder monetary measures to end years of deflation.”
Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expect the BOJ to keep monetary policy unchanged at its meeting later this week. “But expectations for more easing once a new BOJ governor is installed still abound and helped to drive down yields on 10-year Japanese government bonds to their lowest levels since June 2003,” Dow Jones reports.
Markets will also get policy updates from the European Central Bank and Bank of England later in the week.