If it wasn’t for the passage of the US tax cut bill last week, the USD/JPY pair would have had a chance for more gains, as the US data was supporting the Greenback. With the markets digesting the passage of the US tax cut law, the Dollar's gains halted and the USD/JPY became one of the worst performers among the Yen’s pairs. The pair gains stopped around 113.63 before settling around 113.35 at the time of writing. Despite the passage of the US tax cut law, the greenback was under stronger bearish pressures against other major currencies. The USD index, DXY, which measures the Dollar’s performance against a basket of 6 other competing currencies, retreated to below 93.30, and the US stock market witnessed a correction after recent record gains. The Bank of Japan maintained its monetary policy as it had no strong reflection on the pair even with the announcement of economic growth lower than expected in the US and an increase in unemployment claims.
The USD didn’t find enough support from interest rate rise by the Fed for the third time this year, and expectations of 3 raises next year, as the markets were expecting 4 interest rate rises in 2018. The US Central Bank’s fears of continued lower inflation levels below the bank’s target of 2% gave the markets an indication that the bank might face hurdles of continued lower inflation pace next year.
Technically: The USD/JPY will have strong bearish move in case it moved towards support at 112.90, 112.00 and 111.60, and we still prefer buying at each bearish bounce. On the bullish side, the nearest resistance levels are currently at 113.75, 114.30 and 115.00. The daily chart shows clearly a break of the bullish trend lately. In light of market closer due to holidays this week and early next week for Christmas and New Year, traders need to be alert of price gaps due to markets coming back in interrupted form sometimes, and it is better to avoid trading until the markets are fully back to normal.
On the economic data front today: Today’s economic agenda will only focus on Japanese data regarding the inflation and unemployment in Japan, as well as the comments of Bank of Japan’s governor, Koruda. There are no important US announcements today. The pair will closely watch for renewed international geopolitical fears, with the reemergence of the North Korean crises, along with anything related to Trump’s internal and external policies.