USD/JPY Price Prediction: Trade Talks and FOMC Minutes are Huge Downside Risks; 110.25 Key Daily Support Eyed

  • Focus shifts to a possible FOMC hiking halt confirmation following the dovish rate decision from January.
  • Trade talks continue in Washington, with USD pumped up on much optimism.

The USD/JPY bulls have been pushing the pair higher at quite some pace, as it completed its second consecutive trading week in the green. It has gained around 160 pips to the upside, moving from 109.50 up to a high last week of 111.13 before running into sellers. The pair managed to jump to its highest level seen since the back-end of December 2018. There are encouraging signs of a full reversal, following the steep losses that came into play from mid-December.

As a recap, a significant drop was observed from the week commencing 17th December last year; this followed the FOMC rate decision that was out during that week. The FOMC did increase rates back then; however, it was very much a dovish hike. The Fed’s accompanying statement at the time appeared to signal FOMC members are anticipating two rate hikes in 2019, down from their previous dot-plot projection of three rate hikes. The indications of a slowdown from this meeting were enough to see the markets start pricing in a downturn in moves north with interest rates from the Fed.

FOMC Minutes on Wednesday

Back in January, the FOMC made a complete U-turn on its monetary policy stance. FOMC members effectively noted that the balance sheet could be adjusted if need be. Furthermore, the FOMC called for ‘patience’ with future rate hikes. At the time, this generated a large amount of weakness for the greenback. Eyes are on a potential dovish statement from the central bank, with close attention to the language used.

Market participants will be looking for further confirmation that the bank’s hiking cycle is over. As a result, this could potentially force pressure to the downside on the USD, should the market interpret such a tone from the FOMC.

Trade Talks Progress

Another big influencer for the greenback this week will be the developments between the U.S. and China with their ongoing trade talks. They remain very much complicated; however, optimism is still seen following their willingness to continue negotiating in Washington. There was little in terms of anything conclusive during the discussions in Beijing last week; clocks are ticking ahead of the deadline.

Markets will be looking for this possible extension announcement in the deadline from Trump, should the talks go as well as he noted. Should nothing conclusive come out of these talks, then the market could grow tiresome and start selling USD. Risks remain tilted to the downside, given that USD has been pumping on hope and optimism.

Technical Review – USD/JPY

USD/JPY daily chart.

In terms of upside targets, the bulls will be eyeing a retest of the psychological 111.00 level. The price managed to move into this territory last week between 13-14th February. Last week’s jump came before running into significant sellers, forcing USD/JPY to retreat down at a critical daily support level. Longs are attractive above 110.25 (daily support), which is in proximity to the 61.8% Fibonacci.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Ken has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.