Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Hello, and welcome to FT Markets.

  • The topic today is currency wars.

  • Central banks around the world are trying to stimulate their economies,

  • and to do this, it would be helpful if the currency would lose value, stimulating trade.

  • The problem is, however, not all currencies can fall at once.

  • But Japan has become the latest bank to join the negative rates club.

  • It now costs money to save money in Japan.

  • To think about the consequences for the Yen, we're joined by Jim Reavis of M&G investments.

  • Welcome, Jim.

  • Hello.

  • So I think you've got one great chart here which really can set the scene for us and give us the long-term context about what's happening.

  • Yes, so I mean. If you got back to 1970s you would see a gradual appreciation of the Japanese Yen against the US dollar

  • all the way through really until 2 or 3 years ago when suddenly the US Dollar becomes the global currency of choice.

  • Now, the blue line on this chart is showing you purchasing power parity.

  • Now, what does that mean?

  • Well, it's the old Big Max index that the economists published.

  • Um, it basically shows you if you could buy exactly the same good in one country and export it to another country.

  • Once you've converted the currencies to adjust for that, in which country does the Big Mac look expensive and in which one does it look cheap.

  • And you see for the chart now that, people have this perception of Japan being ferociously expensive economy.

  • Going back to the 1980s boomer, an expensive place to buy stuff and do business.

  • Actually, that's not the case anymore.

  • And if you look at PPP, your Big Mac in Tokyo is very much cheaper than it is in United States or elsewhere in the world.

  • To the extent that it looks as if the Japanese Yen is fundamentally undervalued right now.

  • The bank of Japan although, uh, would like to make that even cheaper.

  • In order just to stay to stimulate its economy and to throw off those speculators

  • who built up quite aggressively long positions in the Japanese Yen over Christmas and as we started in 2016.

  • So are you saying we should buy the Yen right now?

  • Or is the central bank sort of fighting it going to stop this sort of resetting of the currency

  • back towards that sort of fundamental place where it should be?

  • Well, they'd like to keep it cheap.

  • Um, the question is, how much more can I do in this?

  • You know, we talked about the three hours of Japanese policy, *

  • monetary policy, fiscal policy, and then structural reform.

  • I don't think they've got a lot more room to do more things on the monetary front.

  • They've already got negative interest rates, have done lots of lots of quantitative easing.

  • Have they really got the ammunition and the will to send Yen even further down?

  • I think the answer is no, for many reasons.

  • But included within that, do they really want to generate much more inflation within Japan?

  • We have elections coming up for the upper house later this year,

  • and Abe really wants to win a big two thirds majority there to change the Constitution.

  • But a lot of his constituents that he'll need to win the election don't even like inflation of even half a percent.

  • So, given we have seen a minus sell off in the end of last week or so

  • and the back of the negative rate,

  • surprise, it probably is the time to be back in the end once more.

  • And I guess the flip slide of that is the dollar,

  • and what about dollar strength

  • not just against the Yen, but against sort of the world's other currencies.

  • Basically, the dollar has been in the currency of choice for the last year.

  • Yeah, and I'm looking back to the history

  • one thing that worried me for being a dollar bull was that once the Feds starts the hike,

  • in the past four right hiking cycles, actually the dollar didn't quite get back in the next six months.

  • I think the thing that is different this time is that the Fed is the only gamer in town, no one else is ready to hike interest rates.

  • On the flip slide if you wanted to put a bit of mitigation on that bullet shot for the dollar,

  • well, the Chinese are selling a lot of dollars at the moment.

  • They liquidated maybe a hundred billion of US treasuries towards the end of last year.

  • They'd like to keep on selling both to support their own currency so the risk is going to be this perpetual dripping of Asian Central bank money out of the dollar,

  • but the fundamentals, the growth story, the interest rates story mean probably the dollars stay strong from here on in.

  • Great, thanks a lot for that Jim.

  • So, as the currency wars continue,

  • what we have is the fight between the fundamentals and the central bankers.

Hello, and welcome to FT Markets.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 FinancialTimes yen dollar currency bank japanese

Long or short the yen? | FT Markets

  • 53 5
    Kristi Yang posted on 2016/02/04
Video vocabulary