Nikkei 225: Follow The Trail

Lior Alkalay - Contributor

Since the start of 2017, the Nikkei 225 has lagged in performance; with a 2.8% return since 2017 began, it lagged the S&P 500'S 2.8% RETURN, and it lagged its Asian peers, the Hang Sang and the South Korean KOSPI, which gained 16% and 16.7%, respectively, year to date. Despite all that lagging, however, the future trend for the Nikkei 225 might be the most promising. The reason? The BoJ’s monetary policy, and how it is trailing the performance of the Japanese economy.

BoJ Policy vs Reality

In a recent speech at the University of Oxford, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda stressed that, despite the latest improvement in Japan’s economic performance, inflation (the rise in prices) is still far from the BoJ’s target of 2%. As the official statistic released from Japan’s statistic Bureau suggests, Kuroda is right. Japan’s headline inflation hit 0.4%, still persistently close to 0%. Add to that the risk of another sell-off in oil and the downside risk for Japanese inflation seems very present. Together, that makes it incumbent upon the Bank of Japan to keep its ultra-loose policy. Nonetheless, something about Japan’s official data doesn't add up. Continue reading "Nikkei 225: Follow The Trail"

USDJPY: Bullish On The Dips

Lior Alkalay - Contributor - Forex

From the Bank of Japan’s recent monetary statements, one might assume that Yen bears have hit a brick wall. The BoJ refrained from adding more stimulus and kept its ¥80 trillion annual bond purchases unchanged.

The BoJ’s reticence seems a disquieting throwback to the monetary policy of the Shirakawa days. Then, the BoJ was in a clear state of denial and refrained from making extra stimulus. Now, though it may seem history is repeating itself, this is not the case. Governor Kuroda is certainly no Shirakawa, and the Yen is not about to get stronger.

What Is The BoJ Really Doing?

At first blush, it just doesn’t add up. How can this be the same Haruhiko Kuroda? The man who announced ¥80 trillion in stimulus in a jaw dropping move suddenly and inexplicably turned passive. But, as the saying goes, appearances can be deceiving. In fact, the BoJ is really making a very calculated move. Continue reading "USDJPY: Bullish On The Dips"