Will the consumption tax hike repeat the history for the Japanese yen?

USD/JPY had remained under pressure of the psychological barrier of 105.00, for a long time, after touching 103.73 during May 2013. The price action was contained in a triangular pattern for 6 months before the pair ultimately broke out of that pattern recently. The long awaited hit took place last week when the pair broke over 105.00 key level first time after October 2008 i.e. in more than past 5 years. In doing so the pair has completed the 61.8% reversal of the great fall of past 10 years i.e.from 123.67 to 75.36.

USD/JPY’s Price Action During Past 10 Years

The 61.8% retracement of the above mentioned fall is at 105.21. USD/JPY is just below that level after touching 105.40 during this last week.

Japan Economy - Local Issues

Global economy has been in a depression since Lehman Brothers collapse and the shock it brought. Japan has been has been having it's own local issues apart from the overall global economic depression.

Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011

Tohoku area earthquake and the devastating Tsunami which had hit Japan on March 11, 2011 had added to the bearish pressures. According to the estimates of World Bank the natural disaster was the costliest natural disaster in the history of the world with an estimated economic cost of US$ 235 billion. The bearish sentiments and the economic pressures continued with over 1,000 aftershocks since then. The largest of these aftershock was of 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale and  80  of those over 6.0 magnitude. The issues due to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant melt down and the radiation concerns kept on adding the bearish pressure on the economy.

Tensions with China and South Korea

The territorial disputes with China and South Korea  over the claims for the ownership of  the Senkaku and Takeshima islands respectively have been putting added pressures on the economy. The recent visit of Prime Minister Abe to the controversial Yasukuni shrine which honors the World War-2 dead, out of which many are convicted war criminals, have again fueled these tensions. Last week's visit of Prime-Minister Abe was the first visit to Yasukuni shrine by a Japanese PM since the year 2006.

Planned increase in the consumption tax

Consumption tax or the sales tax in Japan was last raised in the year 1997 from 3% to 5%. On April 1st, 2014 another increase has been planned from current 5% to 8%. There are thoughts to increase it further to 10%, depending on the economic conditions during October 2015.

Let's check what happened during the previous consumption tax hike.

USD/JPY price-action just before and after the last consumption tax hike

The previous tax hike, 16 years back, had also come in a planned manner. As the above chart indicates the yen kept on weakening before the hike was implemented on April 1, 1997. The weakness continued for the next one month i.e. till April end. A consolidation then took place but the recovery, after that, continued for next 16 months and took USD/JPY to the high of 144.77 during August 1998.

What to expect in the year 2014?

The bearish sentiments for Japanese yen are evident. The break over 105.00 key level has broken one more psychological barrier. The year 2014 is expected to see further weakness in the yen and hence further strength in USD/JPY and also other major JPY crosses.

As reported on ForexAbode.com, the weakened yen will help exports but an increase in the consumption tax will affect the domestic consumption with the prices of everything going higher. Any drop in the domestic sales and the consumer sentiments will go against the yen further. We would expect USD/JPY to take out the barrier of 110.00 during 2014. We can not even rule out the possibilities of a move to 112.25/112.40 as a move to 112.26 will complete Fibonacci retracement of 74.6% for the currency pair.

Do share your opinions and thoughts to discuss about the outlook for the year 2014 further. Please also check the USD/JPY outlook which is updated weekly.

Connect the author on Google at +Himanshu Jain

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Tags: USD/JPY

Comment by Daologic on December 31, 2013 at 7:06am

Can anyone imagine a consumption tax of 24%? We have it in Romania. This is theft!

Comment by Himanshu Jain on December 31, 2013 at 7:23am

Good that I am a bit far away from there ;)

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