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The Weak Yen Is Calling

Next week's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee also will be key, given rising expectations that the Fed will finish its rate-hike campaign next year. Hints in that direction may show up in the Fed statement that will be released after the meeting.

In a speech on Monday, however, Fed Governor Mark Olson gave no such indication. The Fed, he said, isn't concerned about lifting interest rates too high and hurting the economy. "The economy doesn't typically move so rapidly that it would get away from us," Olson said, according to Bloomberg.

As for next year, a number of economists and currency strategists expect that the outlook for the dollar will worsen, while the yen's may improve. In addition to the Fed's actions, the dollar has been heavily supported by U.S. firms repatriating dollars to enjoy tax breaks under the Homeland Investment Act, part of the American Jobs Creation Act, which will expire at the end of the year.

According to Ashraf Laidi, currency strategist at MG Financial, the repatriations are estimated at between $200 billion and $500 billion, with about 30% requiring currency conversions into dollars.

The yen should have room to appreciate if and when China advances toward revaluing the yuan. The G7 official statement did call on China to move faster on making the currency more responsive to global markets.

The People's Bank of China on Monday indicated some willingness toward more currency reform, according to Laidi. He believes China may take another step to revalue the renminbi, by between 1.8% and 2.1%, in as early as three to four weeks.

In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, Godt doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
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