With the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY) up 2.2% in the past week and equity-based Japan ETFs suffering as a result, those ETFs and Japanese stocks could use some support from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda when he speaks when he speaks later tonight.
At this writing,USD/JPY is off 0.64% at 97.68 while the Nikkei 225 is lower by 2.44%, trading below 14,000. The strengthening yen and faltering Japanese stocks during Monday’s Asian session come after the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity (NYSEArca: DXJ), the top-selling ETF this year, plunged 5.2% last week. Friday’s 3% loss for DXJ was the ETF’s third consecutive close in the red. [Top-Selling Japan ETF Down as Yen Rises]
Ahead of Kuroda’s speech, which is expected to start at 11:30PM Eastern time, little in the way of fireworks is expected. However, some market observers believe Kuroda could be tempted to steal a page from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernank’s playbook and make comments that comfort skittish investors. [Is Political Stability Good for Japan ETFs?]
“However, looked at from the BoJ perspective both tapering and the subsequent Fed pentimento have been clear negatives for Abenomics. The initially hawkish read on the Fed led to a backing up of Japanese rates that derailed the Nikkei; the subsequent Fed backtracking reinvigorated its dovish credentials and led to a pull back from the Nikkei resurgence,” said Citigroup’s Steve Englander in comments posted on Zero Hedge.
Already in the midst of a massive quantitative easing effort and with interest rates among the lowest in the world, BoJ is seen as having few policy tools left at its disposal with which to bolster Japanese stocks. Still, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to stoke inflation and get the economy back on track, and the Bank of Japan has taken unprecedented steps to weaken the yen. Those efforts have, for the most part, worked as DXJ is up 21.1% this year. [Yen ETF Rally May be Flash in the Pan After Elections]
Kuroda is not likely to announce a material alteration of BoJ’s easing efforts, but he could assuage global financial markets by announcing an increased pace to the central bank’s asset-buying efforts.