Japanese Yen ETF Retreats as BOJ Sticks to Ultra-Low Rate Commitment

A Japanese yen currency-related exchange traded fund plunged on Friday after the Bank of Japan stuck to its ultra-low interest rate policy and pledged to maintain accommodative policies.

The CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY), which tracks the yen against the U.S. dollar, fell 2.2% on Friday.

“It is not appropriate to tighten monetary policy at this point,” BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said. “If we raise interest rates, the economy will move into a negative direction.”

However, the BOJ did acknowledge that the yen’s recent weakness may weigh on the economy, but policymakers reassured that they will “closely watch” the impact of foreign exchange moves and their effects, Reuters reports.

“Recent rapid falls in the yen heighten uncertainty on the outlook and make it difficult for companies to set business plans. It’s therefore negative for the economy and undesirable,” Kuroda told a news conference.

The BOJ has kept to its -0.1% target on short-term rates and vowed to guide the 10-year yield to around 0% by a majority 8-1 vote. The central bank also maintained its guidance to keep rates at “present or low” levels and even reaffirmed its commitment to buy an unlimited sum of 10-year government bonds at 0.25% to maintain its support policy outlook.

“Raising interest rates or tightening monetary policy now would add further downward pressure on an economy that is in the midst of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic’s pain,” Kuroda said, pushing off the chance of a near-term rate hike.

The BOJ Governor also stated that there will be a hard cap on the 10-yield note at 0.25% and had no plans to increase the upper limit despite global pressures.

“There was speculation the BOJ could tweak policy to address currency moves, but the answer from the central bank was no,” Shotaro Kugo, an economist at Daiwa Institute of Research, told Reuters.

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