Custom Products Research uses 5 regression models to forecast fair value for the USDJPY exchange rate. As of January 25, 2017 the fair value for USDJPY was ¥112.65, based on our main 3-Equation model (3EQ). We had also forecast ¥114.51 based on the US-Japan 2-Yr 1 YR forward spread differential (2Y1YF) and ¥111.03 based on the inflation expectation-adjusted 2 YR US-Japan real rate spreads (IA2YS). The 5 regression models all have very high R2 with the 3 equation model at 89%, R= .944 and t-stat 121 over the last 7 years. The inflation expectation adjusted 2 yr yield gap R2 is 90.8% over 5 years, R95% and t-stat 60.2. While the 2-Yr 1 YR forward spread has an R2 of 87% and R93% with t-stat 25.7 over last 2 years, but this falls over a longer timeframe. (for further details see January 31 report, ‘Exchange Rate Forecast…..’)
As of 1AM GMT February 24, 2017, both 2Y1YF and 1A2YS indicated USDJPY fair value ¥112.90, which happened to be exactly the spot rate. While our 3-equation model stood at ¥111.92.
What has Changed?
Over the last month, 2-Yr yield spreads have remained unchanged at 145bps, while 2 and 3-YR inflation adjusted spreads have become more negative (-60bps to -100bps), implying a stronger Yen. Real adjusted 10-Yr rate spreads have also declined, from 0.6% to 0.09%, also implying a stronger Yen. Meanwhile inflation expectation-adjusted short-term yields have been flat. Similarly, the 2 YR 1-YR Forward rate differential has been flat at 1.9%, after having risen from 1.4% in October.
We still expect the Yen to weaken towards year end, based on 4 quarter-point hikes by the Fed. (see January 1 report ‘Central Bank Policy: Fed Still Behind the Curve). Q1 GDP growth should be between 2.4-2.5%, Hourly wage growth is also 2.5% and the Bloomberg Economic Diffusion Index continues at a high level. January CPI was 2.3%, with continued upward pressure from oil and China producer pricing, supporting our ‘inflation surprise shock’ scenario.
Unfortunately, as the BOJ is content with 1% real GDP growth and USDJPY above ¥110, no further rate cuts are expected from the BOJ (see February 17, 2017 report ‘Central Bank Policy – Why 2018 is Looking a Lot Like 2006 for the BOJ’)
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