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Home » Bank of Japan shocks global markets with bond yield shift

Bank of Japan shocks global markets with bond yield shift

by Kayden Atkinson
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Global markets were jolted overnight after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly widened its target range for 10-year Japanese government bond yields, sparking a sell-off in bonds and stocks around the world.

The central bank caught markets off guard by tweaking its yield curve control (YCC) policy to allow the yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond (JGB) to move 50 basis points either side of its 0% target, up from 25 basis points previously, in a move aimed at cushioning the effects of protracted monetary stimulus measures.

In a policy statement, the BOJ said the move was intended to “improve market functioning and encourage a smoother formation of the entire yield curve, while maintaining accommodative financial conditions.“

The central bank introduced its yield curve control mechanism in September 2016, with the intention of lifting inflation toward its 2% target after a prolonged period of economic stagnation and ultralow inflation.

Global markets were jolted overnight after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly widened its target range for 10-year Japanese government bond yields, sparking a sell-off in bonds and stocks around the world.

The central bank caught markets off guard by tweaking its yield curve control (YCC) policy to allow the yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond (JGB) to move 50 basis points either side of its 0% target, up from 25 basis points previously, in a move aimed at cushioning the effects of protracted monetary stimulus measures.

In a policy statement, the BOJ said the move was intended to “improve market functioning and encourage a smoother formation of the entire yield curve, while maintaining accommodative financial conditions.“

The central bank introduced its yield curve control mechanism in September 2016, with the intention of lifting inflation toward its 2% target after a prolonged period of economic stagnation and ultralow inflation.

“Fact is, there is nothing in the fundamental nature of the move or the accompanying communique that challenges our fundamental view that the BoJ will calibrate policy to relieve JPY pressures, but not turn overtly hawkish,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy for the Asia and Oceania Treasury Department at Mizuho.

“For one, there was every effort made to emphasize that policy accommodation is being maintained, whether this was in reference to intended as well as potential step-up in bond purchases or suggesting no further YCC target band expansion (for now).”

Spikes in volatility

The Bank of Japan noted in its statement that since early spring, market volatility around the world had risen, “and this has significantly affected these markets in Japan.”

“The functioning of bond markets has deteriorated, particularly in terms of relative relationships among interest rates of bonds with different maturities and arbitrage relationships between spot and futures markets,” it added.

The central bank said if these market conditions persisted, it could have a “negative impact on financial conditions such as issuance conditions for corporate bonds.”

Luis Costa, head of CEEMEA strategy at Citi, indicated on Tuesday that the market move may be an overreaction, telling CNBC there was “absolutely nothing stunning” about the BOJ’s decision.

“You have to take this BOJ measure in the context of a positioning in dollar-yen that was obviously not expecting this tweak. It’s a tweak,” he said.

Japanese inflation is projected to come in at 3.7% annually in November, according to a Reuters poll last week — a 40-year high, but still well below the levels seen in comparable Western economies.

Costa said the Bank of Japan’s move was not geared toward combating inflation but addressing the “infrastructure and the dynamics of JGB trading” and the gap in volatility between the trade in JGBs and the rest of the market.

Source : CNBC

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