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USD/JPY: 2023 Review and 2024 Forecast

According to statistics, USD/JPY (US Dollar/Japanese Yen) is among the top three most traded currency pairs in the Forex market. This is facilitated by the pair's high liquidity, which ensures narrow spreads and favourable trading conditions. This means that traders can enter and exit positions with minimal costs. Additionally, the pair exhibits very high volatility, providing excellent profit opportunities, particularly in short-term and medium-term operations.

2023: The Yen of Unfulfilled Hopes

Throughout 2023, the Japanese currency steadily lost ground to the American dollar, and consequently, USD/JPY pair trended upwards. The yearly low was recorded on January 16th at 127.21, while the peak occurred on November 13th, with 1 dollar exchanging for 151.90 yen.

We have repeatedly mentioned that the weakening of the yen is due to the Bank of Japan's (BoJ) persistent ultra-dovish stance. Understandably, the negative interest rate of -0.1% cannot be attractive to market participants, especially against the backdrop of rising global yields and high rates set by the central banks of other leading countries. For investors, it was much more preferable to engage in carry trade: borrowing yen at low interest rates, then converting them to US dollars and Treasury bonds, which yielded a good profit due to the interest rate differential, all without any risk.

The monetary policy conducted by the Japanese Government and the Bank of Japan in recent years clearly indicates that their priority is not the yen's exchange rate, but economic indicators. Until mid-summer, to combat rising prices, regulators in the US, EU, and the UK tightened monetary policy and raised key interest rates. However, the BoJ ignored such methods, even though inflation in the country continued to rise. In June 2023, core inflation reached 4.2%, the highest in over four years. The only action the Bank of Japan took was to switch from strict to flexible targeting of the yield curve of Japanese government bonds, which did not aid the national currency.

Instead of tangible actions, Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda, and Japan's top currency diplomat Masato Kanda actively engaged in verbal interventions. They and other senior financial officials consistently assured in their speeches that everything was under control. They claimed that the Government was "closely monitoring currency movements with a high sense of urgency and immediacy" and that it "would take appropriate measures against excessive currency movements, not ruling out any options." Here are a few quotes from Kazuo Ueda's speech: "Japan's economy is recovering at a moderate pace. […] Uncertainty regarding Japan's economy is very high. […] The rate of inflation growth is likely to decrease and then accelerate again. [But] overall, Japan's financial system maintains stability." In short, interpret it as you wish.

Winter-Spring 2023. At the beginning of the year, many market participants took the promises to "take immediate measures" quite seriously. They were hopeful for a rate hike, which had been stuck at a negative level since 2016. In January, economists at Danske Bank forecasted that following a rate increase, the USD/JPY pair would fall to 125.00 within three months. Analysts from the French Societe Generale pointed to the same target. Their colleagues from ANZ Bank did not rule out the possibility of the pair reaching around 124.00 by the end of 2023. According to BNP Paribas' projections, a tightening of monetary policy was expected to stimulate the repatriation of funds by Japanese investors, potentially leading the USD/JPY pair to fall to 121.00 by year's end. Economists from the international financial group Nordea anticipated it dropping below 120.00. Potential significant strengthening of the Japanese currency was also suggested by strategists from Japan's MUFG Bank and HSBC, the largest bank in the UK.

Summer 2023. As time passed, nothing significant occurred. Commerzbank, a German bank, stated that the yen is a complex currency to understand, possibly due to the BoJ's monetary policy. Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), subtly hinted that it "would be appropriate to bring more flexibility to the monetary policy of the Bank of Japan."

In the first half of the summer, market participants began to adjust their forecasts. Economists at Danske Bank now predicted the USD/JPY rate to be below 130.00 over a 6-12 month horizon. A similar forecast was made by strategists at BNP Paribas, projecting a level of 130.00 by the end of 2023 and 123.00 by the end of 2024. Societe Generale's July forecast also became more cautious. Analysing the pair's prospects, the bank's experts expected that the yield on 5-year U.S. Treasury bonds would fall to 2.66% within a year, allowing the pair to break below 130.00. If the yield on Japanese government bonds (JGB) remains at the current level, the pair might even drop to 125.00.

Wells Fargo's prediction, one of the 'big four' banks in the US, was considerably more modest, with its specialists targeting a USD/JPY rate of 136.00 by the end of 2023 and 129.00 by the end of 2024. MUFG Bank declared that the Bank of Japan might only decide on its first rate hike in the first half of 2024. Only then would a shift towards strengthening the yen occur. Regarding the recent change in yield curve control policy, MUFG believed it was insufficient by itself to trigger a recovery of the Japanese currency. Danske Bank stated that expecting any steps from the BoJ before the second half of 2024 was not advisable.

Autumn-Winter 2023. No one held any hope that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) would change its monetary policy before the end of the year. However, market participants started fearing that the weak yen might eventually mobilize Japanese officials to move from verbal interventions to actual actions.

The USD/JPY pair was eagerly racing towards the critical mark of 150.00. Market participants vividly remembered that in the fall of 2022, when the pair reached a 32-year high at 152.00, Japanese authorities initiated financial interventions. Adding fuel to the fire was a report by Reuters, stating that Japan's chief currency diplomat Masato Kanda had announced the banking authorities were considering intervention to end "speculative" movements.

Then, on October 3, as the quotes slightly exceeded the "magical" height of 150.00, reaching a peak of 150.15, what everyone had been anticipating for so long finally happened. In just a few minutes, the USD/JPY pair plummeted nearly 300 points, halting the slide at 147.28. Japan's Finance Minister, Shunichi Suzuki, refrained from commenting on the event. He vaguely stated that "there are numerous factors determining whether movements in the currency market are excessive." However, many market participants believed this to be a real currency intervention. Although, of course, one cannot rule out the mass automatic triggering of stop-orders at the breakthrough of the key level of 150.00, as such "black swan" events have been observed before.

Whatever the case, the intervention did not significantly help the Japanese currency, and 40 days later, it was trading again above 150.00, at the level of 151.90. It was at this moment, on November 13, that the trend reversed, and the strengthening of the yen became consistent. This happened a couple of weeks after the peak in yields of the ten-year U.S. Treasury bonds when markets became convinced that their decline had become a trend. It's important to recall that there's traditionally an inverse correlation between these securities and the yen. If the yield on Treasuries rises, the yen falls against the dollar, and vice versa: if the yield on the securities falls, the yen strengthens.

The primary reason for the resurgence of the Japanese currency was growing expectations that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) would finally abandon its negative interest rate policy, possibly sooner than expected. Rumours suggested that regional banks in the country, lobbying for an abandonment of yield curve targeting policy, were exerting significant pressure on the regulator.

The yen also benefited from market confidence that the key interest rates of the Fed and the ECB had plateaued, with only a decrease expected thereafter. As a result of this divergence, it was anticipated that investors would unwind their carry trade strategy and reduce the yield spreads between Japanese government bonds and those of the U.S. and Eurozone. According to most analysts, all these factors were expected to bring capital back to the yen.

The fourth quarter's low was recorded on December 28 at 140.24, after which USD/JPY ended the year 2023 at a rate of 141.00.

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2024 – 2028: Fresh Forecasts

After three years of sharp decline, the yen's value might finally be turning around. This is the view held by market participants surveyed by Bloomberg. Overall, respondents expect the Japanese currency to strengthen next year, with the average forecast for USD/JPY pointing to a level of 135.00 by the end of 2024.

Several banks anticipate the pair trading within the range of 125.00-135.00 (Goldman Sachs at 130.00, Barclays at 135.00, UBS at 132.00, MUFG at 125.00). Currency strategists at HSBC believe the US dollar is currently overvalued and will return to its fair value over the next five years due to declining yields in the US and rising stock markets. HSBC experts expect the exchange rate of the pair to reach 120.00 by mid-2024 and drop to 108.00 by 2028. According to ING Group's forecasts, the rate will fall to around 120.00 only in 2025.

However, there are also those who predict further decline for the Japanese currency and a continued 'flight to the moon' for the pair. For instance, analysts at the Economic Forecasting Agency (EFA) expect USD/JPY to reach 166.00 by the end of 2024, 185.00 by the end of 2025, and 188.00 by the end of 2026. Wallet Investor's forecast suggests that the pair will continue its upward rally, reaching a mark of 208.10 by 2028.

In conclusion, for those who favour graphical analysis, it's noteworthy to mention that the behaviour of USD/JPY throughout 2023 almost perfectly aligns with Elliott Wave Theory. If in 2024 the pair continues to follow the tenets of this theory, we can first expect a bullish corrective wave B. This will be followed by a bearish impulse wave C, which could lead the pair to the levels anticipated by proponents of a strengthening Japanese currency.

NordFX Analytical Group

Notice: These materials are not investment recommendations or guidelines for working in financial markets and are intended for informational purposes only. Trading in financial markets is risky and can result in a complete loss of deposited funds.

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CryptoNews of the Week

– A real drama unfolded in the cryptocurrency market after hackers breached the social network X (formerly Twitter) account of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and posted a fake tweet about the approval of the long-awaited bitcoin exchange-traded funds (BTC-ETFs). This statement caught investors off guard as it was expected that this important decision by the SEC would only be published on Wednesday, January 10. The market reacted instantly, and the price of the main cryptocurrency soared to $48,000.
The head of the regulatory body, Gary Gensler, urgently published a denial, stating: "The SEC's Twitter account was hacked, and an unauthorized tweet was published. The SEC has not approved the listing and trading of bitcoin spot exchange-traded products." Following this message, the BTC price reversed and dropped to around $45,000.

– As anticipation for a positive decision from the U.S. SEC grew, the number of Google search queries for "Bitcoin ETF" reached a record level. Last week, the percentage index exceeded the 50 mark, and this week it hit the maximum of 100 points. Interestingly, the search queries for "Bitcoin ETF" predominantly come not from the U.S. but from other countries. Canada leads with 100, followed by Hong Kong (86) and Singapore (85). Switzerland (73) ranks fourth, and Germany (72) is fifth among the most interested countries. As for the U.S. itself, it holds the 9th place with 39 percentage points.

– SEC Chair Gary Gensler warned on January 8 about the volatile nature of crypto assets and also reminded of the risks associated with crypto service providers. His recommendations followed amidst firms submitting updated applications for launching bitcoin exchange-traded funds (BTC-ETFs). Perianne Boring, the founder and president of the U.S. Chamber of Digital Commerce, believes that the SEC could delay its decision. In her view, amendments to these applications could be the reason for postponing the deadlines. Consequently, the Commission would need more time to coordinate the changes and might not complete all procedures even by the end of the week.
Perianne Boring hopes she is wrong. However, she admits that Gary Gensler and members of the expert commission may have received another chance to delay the final decision. The SEC, she is confident, has enough tools at its disposal to block the market entry of this exchange product altogether and is not willing to give up its position without a fight. Markus Thielen, an analyst at Matrixport, also believes that the regulator may avoid making a positive decision.

– Television host and founder of the hedge fund Cramer & Co., Jim Cramer, stated that the price of bitcoin has peaked and further growth should not be expected. He made this statement at the moment when bitcoin surpassed the $47,000 mark. Social media users and the crypto community consider Cramer a unique "indicator," whose predictions in the vast majority of cases... do not come true.

– Macro-strategist Henrik Zeberg expects a fantastic bull market in 2024. According to him, the dynamics of digital assets this year, driven by the arrival of new players, will be "parabolic." "[Bitcoin] will be absolutely explosive: it will go vertical. I think we will reach at least $115,000. That's my most conservative forecast. The $150,000 level is also quite achievable, and I see the potential for $250,000," notes the economist.
Zeberg added that thanks to the entry of institutional and traditional investors following the potential approval of spot bitcoin ETFs, the first four months of 2024 could be "incredibly impressive" for the crypto market. Everyone who did not participate in the first or second bull cycles will now say, "Oh, I missed the first two times, but I will be in this one." However, the expert believes that traditional markets are facing "the worst crash since 1929," when the Great Depression began in the U.S.

– An unknown user sent on January 5 nearly 27 BTC (worth about $1.2 million at the time) to the wallet of bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. This sender's address received funds from three different sources, the majority originating from a wallet registered with the cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
The genesis wallet of Satoshi Nakamoto, as of the time of writing, contains 99.67 BTC, which is valued at around $4.4 million. These assets have remained unmoved since the disappearance of the bitcoin creator in December 2010. Coinbase director Conor Grogan commented, "Either Satoshi has awakened, bought 27 BTC on Binance and transferred them to his own wallet, or someone just burned a million dollars." He also speculated that it might be a form of "strange marketing" related to the potential approval of a spot bitcoin ETF.

– Vytautas Kaseta, President of the Crypto Economy Organisation, has stated that while the crypto community celebrates January 3 as the birthday of bitcoin, technically this is not correct. On that day, Satoshi Nakamoto generated the zero block of the BTC blockchain, known as Genesis. However, this block only served as a starting point for creating the network, as it contained no actual transaction data. The first non-zero block, mined on January 9, 2009, marks the beginning of real transactions in the network, when the blockchain came to life as a functional means of exchange. It's the creation of this block that should be considered the true birthday of the first cryptocurrency, Vytautas Kaseta believes.

– The approval of spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on the first cryptocurrency represents a "turning point" for the asset's adoption. In this scenario, the price of bitcoin could soar to $200,000 by the end of 2025, according to analysts at Standard Chartered in a recent report. The bank estimates that by the end of 2024, exchange-traded funds will hold between 437,000 BTC and 1.32 million BTC. This is equivalent to a market inflow of $50-100 billion.
The analysts noted that exchange-traded products related to gold exhibited a similar dynamic, but only seven to eight years after their launch. "Bitcoin will see the same growth as a result of the approval of a spot ETF in the U.S., but we will see it materialize over a shorter period (one to two years), given the rapid development of the crypto market," explained Standard Chartered.

– Venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya echoed a similar sentiment, believing that 2024 could be the most important year for the first cryptocurrency. The billionaire noted in a new episode of the All-In podcast that the approval of a large number of spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will likely be a "game changer for BTC." This could ultimately lead to the widespread adoption of the asset. Palihapitiya added that in this case, by the end of 2024, bitcoin will become a part of the traditional financial lexicon.

– Renowned analyst PlanB believes that the value of bitcoin could soon reach a range between $100,000 and $1 million. He explained that he does not expect a fall in BTC price because its level of adoption is only at 2-3%. According to the logistic S-curve of organizational development and Metcalfe's law, a decrease in asset profitability should not be expected while the level of adoption is below 50%. Therefore, the analyst opines, "the main cryptocurrency can expect exponential growth for a couple more years."
It's worth noting that PlanB is the creator of the Stock to Flow model for predicting the course of bitcoin. This model reflects the ratio of the available supply of an asset to the volume of its production. Thus, according to this model, the current price of the coin for most holders exceeds the purchase cost, which is a "distinctive signal of bullish growth."

– According to CoinDesk, the 40-day correlation between digital gold and the Nasdaq 100 technology index has dropped to zero. Over the last four years, this price relationship was positive, ranging from moderate (0.15) to strong (0.8). The indicator reached its maximum value during the bear market of 2022. Now, bitcoin has completely "broken away" from the Nasdaq, thanks to expectations of the ETF launch.
Experts from Fairlead Strategies, interviewed by the publication, spoke about the prospects of maintaining the "independence" of digital gold in the near future. This nullification of correlation could signify the potential use of the first cryptocurrency as a means of diversifying investment portfolios. "We believe that the price correlation will remain low in the coming months, given the potential approval of a spot bitcoin ETF and the halving in April. Furthermore, risk assets generally exhibit lower correlation in bull markets compared to bear markets," the experts explained.

Notice: These materials should not be deemed a recommendation for investment or guidance for working on financial markets: they are for informative purposes only. Trading on financial markets is risky and can lead to a loss of money deposited.

#eurusd #gbpusd #usdjpy #btcusd #ethusd #ltcusd #xrpusd #forex #forex_example #signals #cryptocurrencies #bitcoin #stock_market
Forex and Cryptocurrencies Forecast for January 15 – 19, 2024

EUR/USD: Market Anticipates Federal Reserve Rate Cut

We published our global forecast for EUR/USD for the upcoming year in the last week of 2023. Now, moving from long-term projections, we return to our traditional weekly reviews, which have been conducted by the NordFX analytical group for over a decade.

The main event of the past week was undoubtedly the U.S. inflation data. The figures released on Thursday, January 11, showed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 3.4% year-on-year, compared to a consensus forecast of 3.2% and a previous value of 3.1%. On a monthly basis, consumer inflation also increased, registering 0.3% against a forecast of 0.2% and a previous figure of 0.1%. On the other hand, the core CPI, which excludes volatile food and oil prices, decreased to 3.9% from a previous value of 4.0% (year-on-year).

Recall that with his dovish remarks at the December press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell created the impression that he is no longer the staunch inflation fighter he appeared to be earlier. This suggests that the U.S. monetary authorities will now respond more flexibly to changes in this indicator. Consequently, the mixed CPI data further convinced market participants that the Fed will begin to ease its policy by the end of Q1 2024. According to CME Fedwatch, the likelihood of a 25 basis point rate cut in March increased to 68% from 61% prior to the release of the statistics. Meanwhile, strategists at the largest banking group of the Netherlands, ING, expect a significant weakening of the dollar towards the end of Q2: that's when they anticipate EUR/USD will start its rally to 1.1500. Until then, in their view, the currency market will remain quite unstable.

Regarding the Eurozone, statistics released on Monday, January 8, indicated that the situation in the consumer market is bad, but not as dire as expected. Retail sales showed a decline of -1.1% year-on-year. This figure, although higher than the previous value of -0.8%, was significantly below the forecast of -1.5%.

In this context, the statement by European Central Bank (ECB) board member Isabel Schnabel appeared rather hawkish. She opined that economic sentiment indicators in the Eurozone have likely reached their nadir, while the labour market remains stable. Schnabel also did not rule out the possibility of a soft landing for the European economy and a return to the inflation target of 2.0% by the end of 2024. According to her, this is still achievable, but it would require the ECB to maintain a high interest rate. This contrast between the hawkish stance of the pan-European mega-regulator and the dovish comments of its overseas colleagues supported the euro, preventing EUR/USD from falling below 1.0900.

Data on industrial inflation in the U.S., released at the end of the workweek on Friday, January 12, also showed a decline in this indicator, but it did not have a strong impact on the quotes. The Producer Price Index (PPI) was 1.8% year-on-year (forecast 1.9%, previous value 2.0%), and the monthly PPI, like in November, recorded a decrease of -0.1% (forecast +0.1%).

Following the release of this data, EUR/USD closed the workweek at 1.0950.

Currently, experts' opinions regarding the near future of the pair provide no clear direction, as they are evenly split: 50% voted for a strengthening of the dollar, and 50% sided with the euro. Technical analysis indicators also appear quite neutral. Among trend indicators on D1, the balance of power between red and green is 50% to 50%. Among oscillators, 25% have turned green, another 35% are in a neutral grey, and the remaining 40% are red, with a quarter of them signalling that the pair is oversold. The nearest support for the pair is in the zone of 1.0890-1.0925, followed by 1.0865, 1.0725-1.0740, 1.0620-1.0640, 1.0500-1.0515, 1.0450. Bulls will encounter resistance in the areas of 1.0985-1.1015, 1.1185-1.1140, 1.1230-1.1275, 1.1350, and 1.1475.

Next week, notable economic events include the release of Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for Germany on Tuesday, January 16, and for the Eurozone on Wednesday, January 17. Additionally, Wednesday will bring statistics on the state of the U.S. retail market. On Thursday, January 18, the usual figures for initial jobless claims in the United States will be released. The same day, we will learn the value of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey, and on Friday, the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index will be published. Furthermore, traders should be aware that Monday, January 15, is a public holiday in the U.S. as the country celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

GBP/USD: Pound Retains Potential for Growth

Before the New Year holidays, GBP/USD reached its highest level since August 2023, touching 1.2827. It then fell by more than 200 points to the lower line of the ascending channel and, bouncing off it, began to rise again. At the time of writing this forecast, it is difficult to confidently say that the pound has returned to a firm upward trend. The dynamics of the last four weeks can be interpreted as a sideways trend. A similar pattern, specifically in the 1.2600-1.2800 zone, was observed in August. Back then, it was merely a temporary respite before the pair's fall continued with renewed vigour. It's possible that we are witnessing a similar scenario now, but with a positive sign instead of a negative one. If this is the case, we could see GBP/USD in the 1.3000-1.3150 zone during the first quarter.

Last week, the British currency was bolstered by data on inflation in the U.S. and forecasts regarding a dovish pivot by the Federal Reserve. The UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) also supported the pound, reporting on Friday, January 12, that the country's GDP in November grew by 0.3% month-on-month, against a forecast of 0.2% and a decrease of -0.3% recorded in October. Additionally, the volume of manufacturing output rose by 0.4% month-on-month in November (forecast 0.3%, previous value – a decline of -1.2%). At the same time, the British FTSE 100 index rose by 0.8%, reflecting the market's optimistic mood and its participants' appetite for risk.

GBP/USD concluded the week at 1.2753. According to economists at Scotiabank, for the pound to maintain its bullish momentum, it needs to confidently overcome resistance in the 1.2800-1.2820 zone. "However," they write, "the absence of a breakthrough in the 1.2800 area may begin to weary [market participants], and the price actions over the last month are still shaping up as potentially bearish."

Despite the pound retaining potential for growth in the medium term, the experts' forecast for the coming days leans towards the dollar. 60% of them voted for a fall in the pair, 25% for its rise, and 15% preferred to remain neutral. In contrast to the specialists, the indicators almost unanimously favour the British currency: among the oscillators on D1, 90% are on the side of the pound (with 10% neutral), and among trend indicators, all 100% are pointing upwards. If the pair moves south, it will encounter support levels and zones at 1.2720, 1.2650, 1.2600-1.2610, 1.2500-1.2515, 1.2450, 1.2330, 1.2210, 1.2070-1.2085. In the event of a rise, it will face resistance at levels 1.2785-1.2820, 1.2940, 1.3000, and 1.3140-1.3150.

For the upcoming week, notable dates include Tuesday, January 16, when a significant batch of labour market data from the United Kingdom will be released. Consumer Price Index (CPI) data will be published on Wednesday, January 17, and retail sales figures in the UK will be available on Friday, January 19.

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USD/JPY: U.S. CPI Outperforms Japan's CPI

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) is considering lowering its inflation forecast for the 2024 fiscal year to around the mid-2% range in its upcoming quarterly report, set to be published on January 23. This news was reported by the Jiji agency, citing Reuters, on Thursday, January 11. Japan's real wages fell by 3.0%. With a sharp slowdown in wage growth, Tokyo's Consumer Price Index (CPI) was below forecasts, dropping from 2.7% to 2.4%. Interpreting these data, analysts have begun to speculate that the Bank of Japan might delay tightening its ultra-loose monetary policy. Following this logic, traders were advised to open long positions in the USD/JPY pair.

However, after reaching a peak of 146.41 on January 11, the pair reversed and began to decline: the decrease in U.S. inflation turned out to be much more significant for market participants than the decrease in Japan's inflation. The fact that the interest rate on the yen will remain at a negative level of -0.1% is not so crucial. What is more important is that the rate on the dollar could soon drop by 0.25%.

Mathias Cormann, the Secretary-General of The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), recently stated that "the Bank of Japan has opportunities to further consider the level of tightening of its monetary policy." However, we have already heard many such vague statements and opinions. In our view, it is much more interesting to present the technical analysis of the current situation performed by economists at the French bank Societe Generale.

"They write that USD/JPY sharply recovered after forming an intermediate low around 140.20 at the end of last month. It has returned to the 200-Day Moving Average (200-DMA) and approached the October low of 146.60-147.40, which acts as an intermediate resistance zone. After an unsuccessful attempt to break through the 50-day moving average at the level of 146.41 on Thursday, January 11, the pair is retreating, indicating the start of an initial pullback. "It will be interesting to see if the pair can hold the 200-DMA around 143.40. Failure would mean the risk of another decline towards 140.20-139.60. A breakthrough above 146.60-147.40 is necessary to confirm the continuation of the rebound [upwards]," they believe at Societe Generale.

USD/JPY ended last week at 144.90. (Interestingly, the current dynamics fully align with the wave analysis we discussed in our previous review). In the near term, 40% of experts anticipate further strengthening of the yen, another 40% are in favour of the dollar, and 20% hold a neutral position. Regarding the trend indicators on D1, 60% are pointing north, while the remaining 40% are looking south. Among the oscillators, 70% are coloured green (with 15% in the overbought zone), 15% are red, and the remaining 15% are neutral grey. The nearest support level is in the zone of 143.75-144.05, followed by 142.20, 141.50, 140.25-140.60, 138.75-139.05, 137.25-137.50, and 136.00. Resistance levels are located at 145.30, 146.00, 146.90, 147.50, 148.40, 149.80-150.00, 150.80, and 151.70-151.90.

No significant events concerning the Japanese economy are expected in the coming week

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CRYPTOCURRENCIES: Day X Has Arrived. What's Next?

What many have long talked about and dreamed of has finally come to pass. As expected, on January 10, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved a batch of 11 applications from investment companies to launch spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on Bitcoin. As a result, ETFs from Grayscale, as well as from Bitwise and Hashdex, were admitted to the NYSE Arca stock exchange. BlackRock and Valkyrie funds are being launched on Nasdaq. CBOE will host ETFs from VanEck, Wisdom Tree, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, as well as joint funds from ARK Invest/21 Shares and Invesco/Galaxy.

Contrary to expectations, immediately after the approval, the BTC/USD pair's rate rose only to $47,652 instead of a jubilant surge. The reason for such a tepid reaction is that the market had already priced in this event. Moreover, the day before, hackers breached the SEC's account on social network X (formerly Twitter) and published a fake tweet about the approval of the long-awaited BTC-ETFs. The market then reacted to this false statement with a rise in the main cryptocurrency to the $48,000 mark. After the refutation, the price fell back down, and on January 10, it merely repeated what had happened the day before.

It's important to note that the SEC was not particularly pleased with its decision to approve the applications. The first application for a spot ETF was filed back in 2013 by the Winklevoss brothers (Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss) and was rejected in 2017. Approximately six years have passed since then, but the regulator's aversion to cryptocurrencies remained, and the current approval was granted somewhat reluctantly and under pressure. According to a press release by the agency's chair Gary Gensler, the Commission's decision was based on a ruling by the appellate court in Grayscale's lawsuit regarding the transformation of a trust fund into a spot ETF. The court ruled in favour of Grayscale, stating that the SEC “failed to adequately justify its reasons for refusal.” After this, delaying the approval of similar products was no longer sensible.

However, on January 10, Gensler did not hold back in his negative assessment. "Despite the approval of spot BTC-ETFs," he noted in the press release, "we do not endorse bitcoin. Investors should consider the numerous risks associated with Bitcoin and products whose value is tied to the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is primarily a speculative, volatile asset that is also used for illegal activities, including ransomware, money laundering, evasion of sanctions, and financing of terrorism. Today, we approved the listing and trading of certain ETP spot bitcoin shares, but we did not approve Bitcoin," concluded the SEC head, making it clear that the battle with digital assets is far from over.

Discussing the short-term perspective, many analysts did not anticipate a significant rally, pointing to $48,500 as a key resistance level. They proved correct: after BTC/USD breached this level on September 11, a "sell the news" phenomenon ensued – a mass closure of buy-orders and profit-taking. Consequently, the price sharply retraced. According to Coinglass, the total sum of liquidations for all cryptocurrency positions was approximately $209 million.

Regarding the long-term impact of the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs, time is needed for a full assessment. About a week is necessary for the funds to commence operations on exchanges, with investment volume data expected around mid-February. If we compare with ETFs for other products, approximately $1.2 trillion has been invested in them over the past two years. Seven years after the 2004 launch of physical gold ETFs, the price of this metal quadrupled, and now over $100 billion is held in gold ETFs.

Concerning digital gold, analysts at Standard Chartered bank consider the approval of bitcoin ETFs a pivotal moment for the asset's acceptance. "Bitcoin will likely see growth akin to gold-linked exchange-traded products," they write. "But this is expected to materialize over a shorter period: not in seven to eight years, as was the case with gold, but within one to two years, considering the swift evolution of the crypto market." The bank forecasts bitcoin's price potentially reaching $200,000 by the end of 2025. Standard Chartered estimates that by the end of 2024, exchange-traded funds could hold between 437,000 BTC and 1.32 million BTC, equating to a market inflow of $50-100 billion, creating a significant price impulse for the primary cryptocurrency.

Venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya also expresses a comparable sentiment. He believes that 2024 could emerge as a landmark year for bitcoin. The billionaire highlighted that the approval of numerous spot exchange-traded ETFs is likely to "revolutionize BTC," potentially leading to its widespread adoption. Palihapitiya remarked that in such a scenario, by the end of 2024, bitcoin could become a staple in traditional financial parlance.

According to CoinDesk data, the 40-day correlation between digital gold and the Nasdaq 100 technology index has dropped to zero. Over the past four years, this price correlation has been positive, varying from moderate (0.15) to strong (0.8), reaching its peak during the bear market of 2022. Now, bitcoin has completely "decoupled" from Nasdaq. This correlation reset may signify bitcoin's potential as an attractive diversification tool for investment portfolios, thereby enhancing its value.

Macro-strategist Henrik Zeberg also anticipates a phenomenal bull market in 2024. He expects the dynamics of digital assets this year, driven by the entry of new players, to be "parabolic." "[Bitcoin] is going to be absolutely explosive – it will shoot up vertically. I think we will reach at least $115,000. That's my most conservative forecast. The $150,000 level is also feasible, and I see the potential for $250,000," the economist notes.

Zeberg added that the first four months of 2024 could be "incredibly impressive" for the crypto market, thanks to institutional and traditional investors entering after the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs. Those who missed out on the first or second bull cycle will now say, "Oh, I missed the first two times, but I'll be in this one." However, he believes that traditional markets are facing "the worst crash since 1929," when the Great Depression began in the U.S.

Renowned analyst known as PlanB believes that the price of bitcoin could soon reach between $100,000 and 1 million. He explains that he doesn't expect a BTC price drop, as its adoption level is currently only 2-3%. According to the logistic S-curve of organizational development and Metcalfe's law, a decrease in asset profitability should not be expected while the adoption level is below 50%. Therefore, the analyst opines, "the main cryptocurrency is set for exponential growth for a couple more years."

Indeed, alongside the optimists, there are many who forecast a downward trend. We discussed some of these views two weeks ago in a special review titled "Forecast 2024: Bitcoin Yesterday, Tomorrow, and the Day After." Currently, it's worth noting the recent statement from TV host and founder of hedge fund Cramer & Co., Jim Cramer. He asserted that bitcoin has reached its peak and further growth should not be expected. This statement was made as bitcoin surpassed the $47,000 mark. Observing bitcoin's performance on January 11-12, it raises the question: "Could Jim Cramer be right?"

As of the evening of January 12, when this review was written, BTC/USD is experiencing a significant drop, trading around $43,000. The total market capitalization of the crypto market is at $1.70 trillion, up from $1.67 trillion a week ago. The Bitcoin Fear & Greed Index over the week has decreased from 72 to 71 points and remains in the Greed zone.

Contrary to bitcoin's performance, the leading altcoin exhibited a much more impressive growth last week. Starting from a level of $2,334 on January 10, ETH/USD reached a weekly high of $2,711 on January 12, showcasing a 16% increase. Interestingly, this surge occurred after the SEC Chairman's statement emphasizing that the regulator's positive decision exclusively pertained to exchange-traded products based on bitcoin. Gary Gensler clarified that this decision "in no way signals readiness to approve listing standards for crypto assets that are securities." It's worth noting that the regulator still regards only bitcoin as a commodity, while considering "the overwhelming majority of crypto assets as investment contracts (i.e., securities)." Therefore, the hope for the imminent arrival of spot ETFs with Ethereum and other altcoins is unfounded.

Yet, against this rather grim backdrop, ETH suddenly soared. The market's reaction is indeed inscrutable. However, towards the end of Friday, January 12, Ethereum followed bitcoin in a downturn, welcoming Saturday in the $2,500 zone.

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CryptoNews of the Week

– The long-standing regulatory saga surrounding the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs finally concluded last week, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issuing the corresponding approval. Against this backdrop, the quotations momentarily surged to $49,000. However, the cryptocurrency subsequently depreciated by nearly 15%. Experts attribute this to an overbought condition or what is known as "market overheating," as reported by Cointelegraph. The SEC's positive decision had already been factored into the market price, and many investors now decided to realize profits rather than purchasing the more expensive asset.
Cointelegraph experts also noted that bitcoin ETFs have already attracted over $1.25 billion. On just the first day, the trading volume of these new financial market instruments reached $4.6 billion. However, the Bitcoin Dominance Index has been steadily declining. Over the past week, the index fell from 54.56% to 51.14%. Concurrently, many altcoins are exhibiting growth, indicating that investors are reallocating capital in favor of alternative coins.

– On the eve of the SEC's decision, some analysts had predicted a decline in bitcoin's price. For instance, analysts at CryptoQuant talked about a possible drop in quotations to $32,000. Other forecasts mentioned support levels at $42,000 and $40,000. "Bitcoin failed to overcome the $50,000 mark," Swissblock analysts write, raising the question of whether the leading cryptocurrency can regain the momentum it has lost.
Moreover, there is growing concern in the market due to the steady increase in the hash rate on the BTC network. This could lead to a scenario where miners start selling coins more actively. Recently, they have transferred bitcoins worth over $1 billion to centralized platforms, creating additional selling pressure and negatively impacting price dynamics.

– The international environmental organization Greenpeace criticized the SEC's decision regarding spot bitcoin ETFs. "Without significant changes in mining practices, this poses serious problems for our efforts to prevent the worst consequences of the climate crisis," the environmentalists stated. "As the price of bitcoin rises, so does its environmental impact. Miners consume more electricity […], which is predominantly generated from fossil fuels, leading to increased carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption," Greenpeace added.

– The entry of BlackRock, the world's largest asset management company in terms of managed assets, into the crypto market could bring significant changes. This financial giant has the potential to surpass MicroStrategy as the foremost holder of digital gold. BlackRock's bitcoin ETF remarkably attracted about $500 million, roughly equivalent to 12,000 BTC, in just two days. Continuing at this pace, BlackRock could become the largest holder of bitcoins by February 1.
For context, MicroStrategy is currently the top holder with 189,150 BTC, outpacing competitors like Marathon Digital and Tesla.

– Analysts at the investment bank Morgan Stanley have studied global market trends and concluded that the role of the US dollar as the cornerstone of the international financial system may be reevaluated. In their view, the growing interest in digital assets like bitcoin, the increasing circulation of stablecoins, and the real prospects of using Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in cross-border transactions are changing the world.
"These innovations, though still in their infancy, open up possibilities for challenging the hegemony of the dollar. Macro-investors should consider how these digital assets, with their unique characteristics and increasing adoption, could alter the future dynamics of the dollar," Morgan Stanley strategists write.
Andrew Peel, Head of Digital Assets at Morgan Stanley, believes that the process of dedollarization in the global economy could significantly accelerate with the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs, as weekly inflows into these new products already exceed billions of dollars. The popularity of BTC has been consistently growing over the last 15 years, and currently, over 106 million people worldwide own the first cryptocurrency, Andrew Peel reminds us.

– Elizabeth Warren, a member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, criticized the SEC for approving bitcoin ETFs. She believes that this decision could harm the country's financial system and investors.
Conversely, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, took an opposing stance. In an interview with Yahoo Finance, she refuted concerns that bitcoin could potentially displace the US dollar. The IMF chief stated that cryptocurrencies are an asset class, not money, and it's essential to make this distinction.
Ms. Georgieva also disagrees with industry participants who think the recent approval of spot BTC-ETFs will lead to the mass adoption of the first cryptocurrency. In her view, that day is still far off, so such discussions are not very meaningful. "I'm not in a hurry to convert my dollars into another currency. It doesn't mean that one shouldn't diversify investments. But I wouldn't worry about bitcoin competing with the dollar," added the IMF director.

– Tom Lee, co-founder of the analytics firm Fundstrat, expressed his opinion in an interview with CNBC that the first cryptocurrency's quotations could reach $100,000 - $150,000 by the end of 2024 and $500,000 in the next five years. "In the next five years, we'll have a limited supply, but with the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs, we potentially have enormous demand, so I think something around $500,000 is quite achievable within five years," the expert stated. He also highlighted the upcoming halving in the spring of 2024 as an additional growth factor.

– Cathy Wood, CEO of ARK Invest, stated on CNBC that under a bullish scenario, the first cryptocurrency could reach a price of $1.5 million by 2030. Experts at her firm believe that even under a bearish scenario, the value of the digital gold will increase to $258,500.

– Anthony Scaramucci, founder of the hedge fund SkyBridge Capital and former White House Communications Director, provided another forecast. "If bitcoin is priced at $45,000 during the halving, then by mid-to-late 2025, it could be worth $170,000. Whatever the price [of bitcoin] is on the day of the halving in April, multiply it by four, and it will reach that figure in the next 18 months," said the SkyBridge founder in Davos, ahead of the World Economic Forum. Scaramucci also mentioned that it would likely take another eight to ten trading days to observe the impact of the new spot ETFs on the price of the first cryptocurrency.

– Prominent investor and founder of MN Trading Consultancy, Michael Van De Poppe, reported that his account on social network X (formerly Twitter) was hacked on January 16th. He addressed his 864,000 followers, emphasizing his hope that none of them followed the phishing links posted by the culprits. The investor is counting on the fact that trusting users have not lost their cryptocurrency funds.
Following this incident, Van De Poppe continued to publish market analysis as usual. He noted that "this will be the last 'easy' cycle for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies." According to him, the current phase will take a bit longer than before, but it will change the lives of many people on Earth. Regarding the current situation, the expert said that the price is stuck between several levels. Resistance is at $46,000, but the price is expected to test support in the range of $37,000 to $40,000.

– Economist David Rosenberg, founder of Rosenberg Research, views buying bitcoin more as gambling than investing. His distrust in BTC is partly due to its high volatility, as evidenced by its price movements following the SEC's decision to approve the first spot BTC-ETFs in the USA.
Rosenberg believes that traditional stocks, by contrast, represent future cash flows of any company; bonds and savings accounts yield interest, and commodities have industrial applications, and their demand can be modelled, unlike bitcoin.

"If you want to get rich believing in cryptocurrencies, then add lottery tickets to your assets," advises the economist. He adds, "This and other tokens are examples of the 'greater fool theory' in action – people buy them not because they are inherently valuable, but because they hope to sell them at a profit to someone even more foolish."

– Amid growing market speculation in anticipation of the imminent launch of a spot ETF for Ethereum, analysts at the investment bank TD Cowen have stated that, according to the information they have, it is unlikely that the SEC will begin to consider applications for approval of this investment instrument in the first half of 2024. "We believe that before approving an ETH-ETF, the SEC will want to gain practical experience with similar investment instruments in bitcoin," commented Jaret Seiberg, head of TD Cowen Washington Research Group. TD Cowen believes that the SEC will return to the discussion of ETFs on Ethereum only after the U.S. presidential elections, which are scheduled for November 2024.
Senior analyst at JP Morgan, Nikolaos Panagirtzoglou, also does not anticipate the swift approval of spot ETH-ETFs. According to Panagirtzoglou, for the SEC to make a decision, Ethereum needs to be classified as a commodity, not a security. However, in the near future, JP Morgan considers this event unlikely.

Notice: These materials should not be deemed a recommendation for investment or guidance for working on financial markets: they are for informative purposes only. Trading on financial markets is risky and can lead to a loss of money deposited.

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NordFX: Best News & Analysis Provider 2023

Following the results of the voting on the information portal Forexing.com, the brokerage firm NordFX was acknowledged as the Best News & Analysis Provider 2023. The victory was secured "by a clear margin" with over 75% of the votes cast in favour of NordFX.

Forexing.com is one of the leading portals comprehensively covering news and events in the Forex, CFD, and Crypto industry. Winners of the Forexing Awards were determined by open voting by visitors of this online platform, making this award particularly valuable as it most objectively reflects the opinion of the professional community. We sincerely thank everyone who voted for the high appraisal of the work of the NordFX Analytical Group.

The congratulatory letter of this platform addressed to NordFX states: “We are thrilled to extend our heartiest congratulations to you for being honoured as the 'Best News & Analysis Provider' of the Year 2023. This prestigious award is a testament to your exceptional service and dedication in the brokerage industry. At Forexing.com, we take pride in recognizing and celebrating excellence within the financial sector. Our team reviews, rates, and nominates top companies in the industry. The awards recognize the best-performing retail International and regional Forex Brokers. Your achievement stands out as a significant contribution to the industry.”

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Forex and Cryptocurrencies Forecast for January 22 – 26, 2024

EUR/USD: Reasons Behind the Dollar's Strengthening

The past week was notably sparse in terms of macroeconomic statistics. Consequently, the market participants' sentiment largely depended on the statements made at the World Economic Forum in Davos (WEF). It's worth noting that this event, held annually at a ski resort in Switzerland, gathers representatives of the global elite from over 120 countries. There, amidst the sparkling, crystal-clear snow glistening in the sunlight, the world's power players discuss economic issues and international politics. This year, the 54th edition of the forum took place from January 15 to 19.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on January 16, the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, expressed her confidence that inflation would reach the target level of 2.0%. This statement did not raise any doubts, as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the Eurozone shows a steady decline. From a level of 10.6% at the end of 2022, the CPI has now fallen to 2.9%. Isabel Schnabel, a member of the ECB's Executive Board, did not rule out the possibility of a soft landing for the European economy and a return to the target inflation level by the end of 2024.

According to a Reuters survey of leading economists on the future monetary policy of the ECB, the majority expect the regulator to lower interest rates as early as the second quarter, with 45% of respondents believing that this decision will be made at the June meeting.

On the other hand, inflation in the United States has been unable to surpass the 3.0% mark since July 2023. The figures published on January 11th showed that the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 3.4%, which was above the consensus forecast of 3.2% and the previous value of 3.1%. In monthly terms, consumer inflation also rose, registering at 0.3% against a forecast of 0.2% and a previous value of 0.1%.

In light of this, and considering that the U.S. economy appears quite stable, the likelihood of the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates in March started to diminish. This shift in sentiment led to a slight strengthening of the dollar, moving EUR/USD from the 1.0900-1.1000 range to the 1.0845-1.0900 zone. Additionally, the weak performance of the Asian stock markets exerted some pressure on the European currency.

According to economists at the Dutch Rabobank, long positions on the euro may face further challenges. This could happen if Donald Trump continues his movement towards a potential second term in the White House. "Although President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act meant that the past four years were not always easy for Europe, Trump's stance on NATO, Ukraine, and possibly climate change could prove costly for Europe and enhance the appeal of the U.S. dollar as a safe asset," the Rabobank experts write. "Based on this, we see a possibility of EUR/USD falling to 1.0500 in a three-month perspective."

EUR/USD closed last week at 1.0897. Currently, the majority of experts predict a rise in the U.S. dollar in the near future. 60% voted in favour of the dollar's strengthening, 20% sided with the euro, and the remaining 20% took a neutral stance. Oscillator readings on the D1 chart confirm the analysts' forecast: 80% are coloured red, indicating a bearish trend, and 20% are in neutral grey. Among the trend indicators, there is a 50/50 split between red (bearish) and green (bullish) signals.

The nearest support levels for the pair are located in the zones of 1.0845-1.0865, followed by 1.0725-1.0740, 1.0620-1.0640, 1.0500-1.0515, and 1.0450. On the upside, the bulls will face resistance at 1.0905-1.0925, 1.0985-1.1015, 1.1110-1.1140, 1.1230-1.1275, 1.1350, and 1.1475.

Unlike the past week, the upcoming week promises to be more eventful. On Tuesday, January 23, we will see the publication of the Eurozone Bank Lending Survey. Wednesday, January 24, will bring a deluge of preliminary statistics on business activity (PPI) in various sectors of the German, Eurozone, and U.S. economies. The main event on Thursday, January 25, will undoubtedly be the European Central Bank's meeting, where a decision on the interest rate will be made. It is expected to remain at the current level of 4.50%. Investors will therefore be paying close attention to what the ECB leaders say at the subsequent press conference. For reference, the FOMC meeting of the Federal Reserve is scheduled for January 31. Additionally, on January 25, we will learn about the GDP and unemployment data in the United States, and the following day, data on personal consumption expenditures of residents of this country will be released.

GBP/USD: High Inflation Leads to High Rates and a Stronger Pound

Unlike the United States and the Eurozone, there was a significant amount of important statistics released last week concerning the state of the British economy. On Wednesday, January 17, traders were focused on the December inflation data. The data revealed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the United Kingdom rose from -0.2% to 0.4% month-on-month (against a consensus forecast of 0.2%) and reached 4.0% year-on-year (compared to the previous value of 3.9% and expectations of 3.8%). The core CPI remained at the previous level of 5.1% year-on-year.

Following the release of the report showing inflation growth, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak moved quickly to reassure the markets. He stated that the government's economic plan remains correct and continues to work, having reduced inflation from 11% to 4%. Sunak also noted that wages in the country have been growing faster than prices for five months, suggesting that the trend of weakening inflationary pressure will continue.

Despite this optimistic statement, many market participants believe that the Bank of England (BoE) will postpone the start of easing its monetary policy until the end of the year. "Concerns that the disinflation process might slow down have likely intensified as a result of the latest inflation data," economists at Commerzbank write. "The market will probably bet on the Bank of England responding accordingly and, therefore, being more cautious regarding the first interest rate cut."

Clearly, if the BoE does not rush to ease monetary policy, this will create ideal conditions for the long-term strengthening of the British pound. This prospect already allowed the GBP/USD pair to bounce off the lower boundary of its five-week channel at 1.2596 on January 17th, rising to the channel's midpoint at 1.2714.

It is quite possible that GBP/USD would have continued its upward trajectory, but it was hindered by weak retail sales data in the United Kingdom, which were published at the end of the workweek on Friday, January 19th. The data showed a decline in this indicator by 4.6%, from +1.4% in November to -3.2% in December (against a forecast of -0.5%). If the upcoming Purchasing Managers' Indexes and business activity indicators, due to be released on January 24th, paint a similar picture, it could exert even more pressure on the pound. The Bank of England might fear that a stringent monetary policy could overly decelerate the economy and might consider easing it. According to analysts at ING (Internationale Nederlanden Groep), a reduction in the key interest rate by 100 basis points could lead to GBP/USD falling to the 1.2300 zone over a one to three-month horizon.

ING analysts also believe that the UK budget announcement on March 6 will significantly impact the pound, with tax cuts on the agenda. "Unlike in September 2022," the experts write, "we believe this will be a real tax cut, financed by the reduced cost of debt servicing. This could add 0.2-0.3% to the UK's GDP this year and lead to the Bank of England maintaining higher rates for a longer period."

GBP/USD ended the last week at 1.2703. Looking ahead to the coming days, 65% voted for the pair's decline, 25% were in favour of its rise, and 10% preferred to remain neutral. Contrary to the specialists' opinions, the trend indicators on D1 show a preference for the British currency: 75% indicate a rise in the pair, while 25% point to a decline. Among the oscillators, 25% are in favor of the pound, the same proportion (25%) for the dollar, and 50% hold a neutral position. If the pair moves southward, it will encounter support levels and zones at 1.2650, 1.2595-1.2610, 1.2500-1.2515, 1.2450, 1.2330, 1.2210, 1.2070-1.2085. In case of an upward movement, the pair will meet resistance at 1.2720, 1.2785-1.2820, 1.2940, 1.3000, and 1.3140-1.3150.

No significant events related to the United Kingdom's economy are anticipated for the upcoming week, other than the previously mentioned events. The Bank of England's next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 1.

continued below...
USD/JPY: The 'Moon Mission' Continues

According to data published by the Japanese Statistics Bureau on Friday, January 19, Japan's National Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December was 2.6% year-on-year, compared to 2.8% in November. The National CPI, excluding fresh food, was 2.3% year-on-year in December, down from 2.5% the previous month.

Given that inflation is already decreasing, the question arises: why raise the interest rate? The logical answer: there is no need. This is why the market's consensus forecast suggests that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will leave the rate unchanged at its meeting on Tuesday, January 23rd, maintaining it at the negative level of -0.1%. (It is worth remembering that the last time the regulator changed the rate was eight years ago, in January 2016, when it was lowered by 200 basis points.).

As usual, Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki made another round of verbal interventions on Friday, and as usual, he said nothing new. "We are closely monitoring currency movements," "Forex market movements are determined by various factors," "it's important for the currency to move stably, reflecting fundamental indicators": these are statements that market participants have heard countless times. They no longer believe that the country's financial authorities will move from persuasion to real action. As a result, the yen continued to weaken, and USD/JPY continued its upward movement. (Interestingly, this aligns precisely with the wave analysis we provided two weeks ago.)

The past week's high for USD/JPY was recorded at 148.80, with the week closing near that level at 148.14. In the near future, 50% of experts anticipate further strengthening of the dollar, 30% are siding with the yen, and 20% hold a neutral position. As for the trend indicators and oscillators on D1, all 100% point north, though a quarter of the latter are in the overbought zone. The nearest support level is located in the 147.65 area, followed by 146.90-147.15, 146.00, 145.30, 143.40-143.65, 142.20, 141.50, and 140.25-140.60. Resistance levels are set in the following areas and zones: 148.50-148.80, 149.85-150.00, 150.80, and 151.70-151.90.

In addition to the Bank of Japan's meeting, another significant event related to the Japanese economy to note for the upcoming week is the publication of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for the Tokyo region, which is scheduled for Friday, January 26.

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