Announced a policy framework overhaul

September 21, 2016

The BoJ: Announced a policy framework overhaul, which it called “QQE with yield curve control.” It left the 0.1% negative rate charged on excess reserves unchanged, while detailing a reworked QQE program. The central bank abandoned its base money target and replaced it with “yield curve control,” whereby the BoJ will target 10-year JGB yields at current levels around 0%. The second part of the new policy framework is “inflation-overshooting commitment,” where the BoJ is committing to expanding the money base until CPI exceeds the y/y target of 2% and stays above target. The BoJ said the scale of the QQE program remained on hold, and that overall asset purchases would remain “more or less in line with the current pace,” although the maturity target has been abolished. The timeframe for achieving the 2% inflation target has been set, quite simply, as “the earliest possible time.” Aside from detailing the new framework, the BoJ also provided an assessment of the failure to have pushed CPI to 2%, blaming “exogenous factors,” including the fall in oil prices, sluggish global demand and financial market volatility. On the economy, the BoJ said recovery “is likely to remain slow.” The yen dove nearly 1% as markets digested the new framework see below.

FX Update: USDJPY is registering a near 1% gain as the London interbank take to their desks. After initially dipping as the BoJ refrain from extending its NIRP policy, the pair rallied as the yen fell across-the-board as markets digested an overhaul in the BoJ’s policy framework. It left the 0.1% negative rate charged on excess reserves unchanged, while detailing a reworked QQE program. The central bank abandoned its base money target and replaced it with “yield curve control,” whereby the BoJ will target 10-year JGB yields at current levels around 0%. The second part of the new policy framework is “inflation-overshooting commitment,” where the BoJ is committing to expanding the money base until CPI exceeds the y/y target of 2% and stays above target. USD-JPY clocked an eight-day high at 102.78. EUR-JPY and other yen crosses also vaulted higher. Whether the new framework will general sustained yen weakness remains to be seen. Spill over dollar strength following the BoJ’s announcement drove EUR-USD to a three-week low at 1.1123.

BoC’s Poloz said it is unclear if the bank will cut its forecast in October, responding to a question in his recently started Q&A with the press. He noted that the export gain in July provides some reassurance, but also saidweakness in export data is unexplained. Keeping his constructive tone intact, he said he expects a large recovery in the level of non-commodity exports. As for the downward shift in inflation risks, he explained that the output gap and exports are behind the downward tilt. But the output gap is the biggest factor in lower inflation outlook he said. Responding to a question on housing, he said a slowdown in one housing market is rarely contagious. As for the renewal of the 2% inflation targeting mandate that is due in upcoming weeks, he said it is the Finance Department’s decision to make. It is a pretty high bar for changing the target, but it is not impossible, the Governor said. And repeating his previous view, he said the adjustment to the oil shock will take several years.

European Outlook: Japanese stocks jumped higher leading broad gains on other European markets after the Bank of Japan decided not to cut interest rates further. The reaction shows that markets and especially banks were weary of a further deepening of negative rates, which banks and insurers in particular are struggling to cope with. The Bank said it is shifting to a greater focus on the shape of the yield curve saying that it will increase bond purchases “more of less in line with the current pace” of 80 trillion yen per year. It also kept the door open to another rate cut. The Yen was under pressure after the decision, which underpinned the outperformance of Japanese stock markets. U.S. and U.K. futures are also higher ahead of the Fed decision, which is likely to see policy unchanged leaving the focus on the forward guidance. Oil prices are also higher, although the front end WTI future is down from earlier highs of over USD 45 per barrel at currently USD 44.89. European markets will look ahead to the Fed decision, but the local calendar also has U.K. public finance data. ECB’s Praet meanwhile stressed again this morning that the central bank will maintain a high degree of monetary accommodation.

Main Macro Events Today        

FOMC Outlook –  The two day FOMC meeting started yesterday with the announcement and press conference scheduled for 18:00 and 18:30 GMT respectively later today. There is little chance of a rate hike this week. The lack of any indication from the FOMC that another tightening is on the way is one of the main factors suggesting policy will be left on hold for now. Additionally, recent data reports haven’t gone the Fed’s way, with weakness in employment, retail sales, and manufacturing, along with still low/moderate inflation trends.

RBNZ – Expectations are for no change in the base rate from its current 2.00% level, still by far the the highest in the G10 countries.

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