Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How about that screaming yen?

Just in passing, I can't help but point out how the Japanese yen is screaming higher here. It's up about 1.3% vs. the buck, the biggest gain in nine months. The fundamental catalyst was a stronger-than-expected Japanese Gross Domestic Product report for Q4. Growth surged at an annualized rate of 4.8% vs. forecasts for a 3.8% gain.

The question of the day is this: IF you assume the cheap yen and 0.25% Japanese interest rates have helped fuel the rallies in, well, basically every asset under the sun, then you have to wonder what a rising yen and/or rising Japanese interest rates might do. Could it cause an unwinding of the massive, global "carry trade?" Or is it meaningless in the grand scheme of things? There's no way to know for sure, of course. But it's worth pointing out that a big rally in the yen that began in April 2006 precipitated the May swoon in U.S. stocks.


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