Without much confidence in the Bank of Japan’s ability to stem the tide of a strengthening currency, the Japanese yen and related exchange traded funds have hit an 18-month high.
On Tuesday, the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY) jumped 1.4% while the ProShares Ultra Yen (NYSEArca: YCL), which tries to reflect the daily 2x or 200% return of the the U.S. dollar price of the yen, surged 2.8%. Year-to-date, FXY rose 9.3% and YCL increased 19.3%.
The yen currency appreciated to ¥108.35 per U.S. dollar mid-Thursday and earlier traded as low as ¥107.67 per dollar, its strongest level since October 2014.
The JPY has experienced one of its biggest daily rallies since August as traders remain unconvinced that Japanese officials will do what it takes to curb the gains, even as a Ministry of Finance official stated that recent moves have been one-sided and that authorities will act accordingly, reports Taylor Hall for Bloomberg.
The statements from Japanese officials are “all the kind of stuff you typically hear before they pull the trigger,” Daragh Maher, head of U.S. foreign-exchange strategy at HSBC Holdings Plc, told Bloomberg. “But the market wants to see their money before it gets scared.”
Currency traders may not blink until the last minute, especially after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent statement that nations should “refrain from arbitrary intervention in currency markets.”
“The verbal intervention won’t be enough to change the course of the yen,” Kazuhiko Ogata, Credit Agricole’s chief Japan economist, told Bloomberg.