Poor household spending and industrial production figures released this week highlight the continued drag that a three-percentage-point consumption tax hike in April is having on the economy. Household spending fell 4.7 percent on year in August, while industrial production declined 1.5 percent.
Be careful what you wish for
The fresh dollar-yen high prompted Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Katsunobu Kato, to call for authorities to monitor yen weakness closely because of its impact on prices.
Concerns that excessive yen weakness could make it difficult for corporations to purchase materials abroad underlie Kato's call, a departure from recent rhetoric on the yen. Japanese policymakers have called for a weaker yen to support the economy by boosting exports since Shizno Abe commenced his effort to jump start the economy last year. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda dismissed concerns about yen weakness as recently as mid-September.
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"You would be brave to call a top right here, but on a multi-week basis we are hearing a little bit more about the negatives of a weaker currency from officials and industry groups who are a bit startled by the pace of the decline," Callow said. He expects the pair to retreat to 105 by year-end.
"As we get towards the 110 level we should see more comments from officials trying to calm the mood," said Greg Gibbs, senior currency strategist at RBS.
The dollar-yen previously faced technical resistance between 110 and 112, which could limit potential upside, Gibbs added.
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"It's not the right time to buy," he said. "I'd recommend lightening up long positions and thinking about a possible tracing back to 107."
Sky's the limit
Richard Yetsenga, head of global markets research at ANZ, disagrees.
"The U.S.dollar looks very strong across a broad front, so certainly we might get some stabilization around 110 but there are no signs of a pullback at this stage," he said.
"The more the market worries about China, and the closer we get to the Fed hiking, both of those forces are going to add impetus to dollar-yen moving higher," he added.
On Thursday, the dollar yen was trading at 108.95.