• As expected, the BOJ announced no new easing steps after the conclusion of their two-day meeting today: the full BOJ Statement on Monetary Policy (PDF)
  • New Zealand’s January Manufacturing PMI higher to 55.2 (prior was 50.4); fastest pace of expansion since May 2012
  • Japan Q4 GDP -0.1% Q/Q (+0.1% expected); The Y/Y came in at +0.4% (+0.4% was expected
  • Australia February Consumer Inflation Expectations 2.2%
  • New Zealand February Consumer Confidence up 2.3% to 121.0 (118.3 prior)
  • Australian Treasury forecast growth to slow
  • One of the front runners for the job of new BOJ head, Kazumasa Iwata, said today that a USD/JPY rate of 90-100 is a return to equilibrium

NZD/USD was the big mover early on the back of a higher Manufacturing PMI figure. Better than expected New Zealand Consumer Confidence figures later helped it continue its climb above 0.8485, where it ran into importer sell orders as well as selling ahead of talked-about barrier option interest at 0.8500.

AUD/USD traded a little higher with the Kiwi, running out of steam above 1.0365. It drifted down to 1.0345 and spent the remainder of the session around 1.0350/60. The report in the Financial Review of a Treasury forecast of slowing growth ahead (see bullets, above, for link) seemed to take the gusto out of the buyers.

EUR/USD had another dead session, trading a little lower on the session in a 15 point range.

The Yen, and the BOJ announcement, were a major focus of the market today. There was stop-loss selling of USD/JPY right on the New York 5pm close, pushing it to 93.20 and then briefly lower a few hours later. It stabilized around 93.30 before starting to tick higher on the back of a comment from Kazumasa Iwata, a leading contender for the job as new chief of the BOJ, then rocketing higher as he continued to make more and more Yen bearish pronouncements. It settled around 93.50 and then traded a range ahead of and over the BOJ announcement.