It’s raining yen

Business

A look at the day ahead in Asian markets from Jamie McGeever

Just as the yen’s eye-popping plunge against the dollar grabs the world’s financial market spotlight, investors will get a closer look on Thursday into the underlying state of the Japanese economy.

Revised second quarter GDP data, and trade and current account figures for July, will give an insight into the yen’s economic fundamentals, and offer clues to whether the level and pace of the currency’s depreciation are justified.

Economists expected Japan’s Q2 GDP growth to be revised up to an annualised 2.9% rate from 2.2%, and quarterly growth to be revised up to 0.7% from 0.5%. They also expect that the current account balance swung back into surplus in July.

All things considered, Japanese officials seem pretty relaxed about the yen’s slump to a 24-year low through 144.00 per dollar. It has depreciated 20% so far this year, and 30% since the start of last year.

Remarkable for a G3 currency.

Plenty other Asian currencies are getting steamrolled by the Fed-pumped dollar. China’s yuan is at a two-year low near 7.00 per dollar, the Thai baht is close to July’s 16-year low, and India’s rupee is hovering near July’s all-time low.

Broader market sentiment on Thursday will probably be brighter than most days lately following the decent rebound on Wall Street, pull back in U.S. bond yields and 5% slide in oil prices on Wednesday.

On the corporate front, investors will scour full-year earnings from Hong Kong property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties to gauge the state of China’s bloated and creaking real estate market.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Thursday:

Japan trade, current account (July)

Japan GDP (Q2)

Australia trade (July)

Indonesia consumer confidence (Aug)

ECB policy decision