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Central Bank policy makers seemed to be engaged in a race to the bottom, each seeking to depress their currency in order to hike exports and increase the attractiveness of their labor force in the international market.
The Japanese have long advocated for a weaker Yen, particularly since China’s rise to prominence on the back of an artificially low Yuan, and have become alarmed at the rapid increase in their currency relative to major trading partners. Despite the fact that top policy makers expressed a commitment to open markets, the tide has rapidly turned and now these same individuals are openly speaking about market intervention. The probability of the BoJ taking steps to increase competitiveness via a Yen depreciation was greatly magnified by the recent announcement that China had surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy.