The Dollar/Yen is trading lower on Wednesday after failing to follow-through to the upside following yesterday’s strong performance. On Tuesday, the Forex pair was boosted by strong demand for risky assets and higher Treasury yields. The rise in share prices was fueled by better-than-expected U.S. earnings reports. The move in yields was driven by optimistic news over Brexit.
At 09:28 GMT, the USD/JPY is trading 108.685, down 0.178 or -0.16%.
Today’s early weakness is likely being fueled by some light hedging pressure triggered by China’s threat of countermeasures in response to a U.S. bill supporting Hong Kong protesters.
China Vows ‘Strong Countermeasures’
Three bills were approved in the House of Representatives Wednesday evening, one supporting the right of individuals to protest, another allowing for the U.S. to check on Beijing’s influence over the territory and a third aimed at preventing U.S. weapons from being used by police against protesters.
“If the relevant act were to become law, it wouldn’t only harm China’s interests and China-U.S. relations, but would also seriously damage U.S. interests,” said Geng Shuang, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, in a statement on the body’s website. “China will definitely take strong countermeasures in response to the wrong decisions by the U.S. side to defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Geng said while China was working to restore law and order in Hong Kong, U.S. lawmakers were “disregarding and distorting facts,” by turning criminal acts and violence against police into issues of “human rights or democracy.”
“That is a stark double standard. It fully exposes the shocking hypocrisy of some in the U.S. on human rights and democracy and their malicious intention to undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability to contain China’s development,” said Geng, who urged the U.S. to “stop meddling.”
Brexit Traders Eye Imminent Draft Deal
Perhaps helping to limit losses on Wednesday are optimistic comments on Brexit from European negotiator Michel Barnier were backed up by reports that a draft legal text over the divorce was being drawn up.
Another factor that could be pressuring the Dollar/Yen is a bearish report from the International Monetary Fund. The U.S.-China trade war will cut 2019 global growth to its slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Tuesday, adding that the outlook could darken considerably if trade tensions remain unsolved.
The markets are relatively calm overnight despite the threat of countermeasures by China to the U.S. legislation supporting the Hong Kong protesters. However, investors have taken precautionary steps by buying the Japanese Yen, gold and Treasury bonds for protection.
Keep an eye on this story to see if President Trump responds to the threat. He could trigger a huge break in the Dollar/Yen if he says anything negative about China that would put a trade deal in jeopardy.
Later today, traders will get the opportunity to respond to the U.S. retail sales report for September and the Fed Beige book. Both reports could influence the Fed’s decision on interest rates later in the month.
Bearish numbers will increase the chances of a Fed rate cut, further weakening the Dollar/Yen.