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Japanese Yen Lower Despite Soft U.S GDP

USD/JPY has recorded slight losses on Thursday. In the North American session, the pair is trading at 110.70, up 0.16% on the day. On the release front, In the U.S., Final GDP for the fourth quarter posted a 2.2% gain, shy of the estimate of 2.4%. Unemployment claims fell to 211 thousand, easily beating the estimate of 221 thousand. Later in the day, Japan releases key consumer data. Tokyo Core CPI is expected to remain steady at 1.1%. Retail sales are projected to rise to 0.9% in February, after a gain of 0.6% in January. Friday will also be busy, as the U.S. releases consumer spending and inflation data.

Global trade tensions have weighed on inflation levels in the developed economies, and the U.S. is no exception. However, with the Fed saying it will put a hold on rates until 2020, could that change? At the Fed policy meeting, policymakers lowered their inflation forecast for 2020, citing weakness in the Chinese and European economies. However, the chief economist of Credit Suisse, James Sweeney, has taken a different tack, saying that U.S. inflation could climb as high as 2.3% next year, in response to the lack of rate hikes. Sweeney said that although inflation remains below the Fed target of 2.0%, there are signs in the services sector of inflation picking up.

The nasty trade war between the U.S. and China has hit Japan hard, as both countries are major trading partners with Japan. The weaker global climate has resulted in weaker demand for Japanese exports, and there are growing concerns that the fragile economy could be heading for a recession. Earlier in the week, the BoJ released the summary of opinions from the March policy meeting. Policymakers debated whether to ramp up stimulus in order to boost growth. Inflation levels remain sluggish, and the scheduled tax hike in October, which is certain to weigh on growth, poses another headache for policymakers.

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