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I read about the Japanese wanting to stop lending so much money to the US. Some predict a lot of money to be made to those who buy Yens today. What do you think?
 

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There's definitely money to be made if you buy the yen. The new, recently elected japanese regime is no longer supporting the USD to the detriment of their own currency. Now, the yen can rise vs. all other currencies... and it won't take long. Look out above!
 

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Taxsaver,
I an significantly less sanguine about the short to medium term outlook for the Yen. I won't really try to predict what might actually happen with the Yen/US$ or and Yen/C$ exchange rates, but I do have a few things to say on the topic in general. For years the Japanese government has been running deficits, and literally printing money to finance those deficits. The country's debt to GDP ratio is well over 185% (by comparison, Canada's public debt is at about 70% of GDP, and the US's is 48%). Despite this, interest rates in Japan have been close to zero for much longer than they have been in Canada and the US. If Japan were the US, people would be saying that the Yen would be expected to fall. Of course, that is not what has happened. While the Yen is a major reserve currency, there is not a lot of it sitting in the holdings of central banks because Japan habitually runs current account surpluses. Make of this what you will.

Since the short-term risk-free interest rate differential between Japan and the US and Canada is practically zero (actually just under 20 basis points), fundamentals (covered interest rate parity) would suggest about a 0.05% appreciation in the Yen over the next three months. Currency forward rates suggest an appreciation of about 0.14%. That hardly warrants a warning of "look out above". Of course, currency forwards are not necessarily a better predictor of future exchange rates than anything else. At least there is a fundamental relationship at play there, whereas there is only speculation underlying notion that the Yen will appreciate against the US dollar because of changing central bank behaviour.

The point of all the facts that I have noted is not to suggest currency movements in any particular way (though a small appreciation appears to be a likely outcome). It is to suggest that the outlook for the Yen is very much mixed. Don't be fooled. While central banks can have significant effect on exchange rates, trade and financial flows matter much more in the long run.
 

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I read about the Japanese wanting to stop lending so much money to the US. Some predict a lot of money to be made to those who buy Yens today. What do you think?
If you use Canadian dollars to buy Yen and the Yen appreciates against the USD, are you really ahead? It depends on what the Yen does against the Canadian dollar -- if the Canadian dollar also appreciates against the USD, you may not make much profit.
 
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