Only Fed can rock yen-dollar boat now

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The dollar appears likely to continue hovering around 105 yen for a month or so.

Contrary to expectations, the Group of Seven finance leaders stopped short of declaring at their latest meeting in Washington that they share Tokyo’s concern over a strong yen — a remark that had been included in the statements from their previous two meetings.

The market’s attention was focused on the April 15 G7 meeting as Wall Street’s tumble — a precipitous fall reminiscent of the Black Monday debacle that stunned the world on Oct. 19, 1987 — took place only the day before.

In response, the yen shot up against the dollar and the euro at the beginning of the following week.

With intervention by the Bank of Japan in March and early last month fresh in memory, however, selling pressure on the dollar soon subsided.

Also behind the turnaround in the yen’s value were the steep falls in Tokyo share prices and speculation of an imminent end to the nation’s zero interest rate policy.

Still, the dollar’s topside is capped by Japanese exporters’ indicated selling at 106-107 yen.

Worries remain over the euro’s weakness and the volatility on Wall Street.

With the capital flow away from Europe and into the U.S. financial markets continuing unabated, the euro appears poised to test new lows against the dollar and yen.

European consumer prices topped the inflation target rate of 2 percent in March, setting off speculation that the European Central Bank will move to raise interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point at its policy-setting meeting Thursday or at the meeting set for May 11.

The anticipated rate hike has apparently been factored into the euro’s exchange rates against the dollar and yen.

In the wake of the severe corrections of U.S. share prices earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Reserve, for its part, now appears left with limited room to raise interest rates further at its policy-setting meeting set for May 16.

The Fed has raised key short-term interest rates five times since June in an effort to ward off inflation.

Further U.S. interest rate hikes will no doubt put downward pressure on New York share prices and, hence, the dollar as well.