The new look, Bank of Japan’s much anticipated first shot at bringing an end to 15 years of deflation turned market sentiment around in the Asian session today.
Managing market expectations can be important for new Central Bank governors. The risk for the BOJ today was to be seen as overpromising and under delivering. That carried potential for a major rally in the Yen that may have been hard to recover from.
The Bank announced that it would buy ¥7tn ($US74bn) of assets a month. This was larger than the consensus forecast of ¥5.2tn. It also put a time horizon of 2 years on its inflation target.
The Japanese stock market had a positive response to this news. The Nikkei 225 rallied sharply and other markets. Early indications are that European markets will flat to slightly higher tody after yesterday's decline.
The Yen fell sharply against all major currencies. Traders, who had been positioning for a sell the rumour, buy the fact outcome were wrong footed by the BOJ.
The BOE and ECB meetings will be a focus for currency markets today. Mr Draghi’s press conference may provide insight into the potential for further easing after weak employment figures.
The North Korean announcement war progressed. The US announced it would soon send a missile system to Guam to boost defences. This prompted a North Korean response that it had moved a mid-range missile to its East Coast. Whilst the South Korean stock market and currency were sold, the reaction of the wider market to these developments appears to have been muted at this stage. The ongoing decline in gold is a pointer to this.
Precious metals remain under pressure as do oil and copper. Weaker than expected US services PMI which provides and insight into conditions in the large non-manufacturing sector of the economy led to a selloff in copper and oil, both of which seem to have plenty of more than adequate supply capacity for a moderate demand growth outlook. The Euro and UK service PMI’s may be a focus for these markets today.