Yen Higher as Nervous Jitters Grow

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The Japanese Yen edged higher in Asian trade on Friday as renewed trade tensions between the United States and China revived fears of a global growth slowdown. The latest data from both countries has done little to alleviate those concerns. Yesterday, it was reported that President Trump is considering signing an executive order that would essentially ban US companies from using specific products manufactured in China, specifically identifying Huawei and ZTE in the report. Analysts say that with the tariff moratorium expiring in early 2019, this news is only making investors more nervous for the future.

As reported at 11:00 am (JST) in Tokyo, the USD/JPY was trading lower at 110.7720 Yen, down 0.1541%; the pair is moving away from the session trough of 110.524 Yen while the high for the trading day was recorded at 111.022 Yen. The GBP/JPY was trading at 140.2270 Yen, down 0.09% while the EUR/JPY was trading at 126.881 Yen, up 0.02%.

Data and Outlook Gloomy

The latest data shows that US consumer confidence is at a 5-month low with a second consecutive monthly decline. The Conference Board reported that the December reading came in at 128.1, down from November's 134.1. Meanwhile, a fall in China's industrial profits sent jitters through markets fearing a deteriorating outlook for the global economy. One analyst pointed out that a number of factors are creating worrying headwinds for the US economy in the coming year, namely, an appreciating dollar, higher borrowing costs as a result of the Fed's interest rate hikes, and weaker foreign demand for US goods.

Barbara Zigah is a freelance journalist living in Ghana, who specializes in Forex-related content; her online work has appeared in the IB Times, NASDAQ, Benzinga, and Seeking Alpha.