The Bank of Japan is in its first monetary policy meeting with new Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at the helm.
It’s a momentous event because Kuroda will implement the monetary policy aspects of “Abenomics” that will do the heavy lifting in helping Japan overcome more than a decade of deflation.
So, everyone has been waiting for this meeting – and they have a long list of things they expect Kuroda to announce.
Given how far the yen has already depreciated and Japanese stocks have risen, though, most analysts agree that the outcome of tonight’s meeting is already being discounted by markets.
The question is this: could Kuroda do something even more aggressive than what is already priced in?
Citi analyst Steven Englander says the Bank of Japan has “strong incentives” to be aggressive at this meeting in giving markets a positive surprise.
He points to the chart below, which shows that the Japanese Nikkei’s correlation with the yen is close to record highs, while the Nikkei’s correlation with the S&P 500’s is near lows.
In other words, the weak yen is a lot more important for the Nikkei right now than a strong S&P 500.
This means, says Englander, that the weakening yen “has been doing double duty in terms of restoring competitiveness and generating a feel-good wealth effect” in Japan.
“To us this signals that the BoJ faces strong incentives to keep Japanese yen weak, so as to maintain the joint benefits from competitiveness and the wealth effects,” says Englander. “While it is possible that they have not had enough time to draft a program or overcome BoJ board resistance, there is likely also a penalty to creating ambiguity among investors on how committed the BoJ is to moving aggressively to hit its targets.”
According to Bloomberg, Kuroda may hold a press conference following the meeting at 2:30 AM ET. The BoJ’s interest rate announcement could come any time between now and then.