Japanese Yen Weak Despite Positive Domestic Reports

The Japanese yen was weak today even though domestic macroeconomic data released on Monday was good. There was no clear theme to drive markets at the start of the week. The week should be eventful, though, with plenty of economic releases basically every single day.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry reported that industrial production rose by 3.8% in October on a seasonally adjusted basis. While it was a small slowdown from the previous month’s 3.9% rate of growth, it was a far better reading than an increase of 2.3% predicted by experts. Retail sales rose 6.4% last month, year-on-year, matching market expectations exactly. The increase followed an 8.7% drop in September. According to a report from Statistics of Japan, housing starts dropped by 8.3% in October from the same month a year ago. Nevertheless, it was a better reading than a drop of 9.0% predicted by analysts and a decrease of 9.9% registered in the previous month.
The COVID-19 and vaccines against it remain in the focus of traders. Three previous weeks have started with news about a breakthrough in the development of yet another vaccine, and market participants wonder whether the trend will continue this week. Besides that, the yen will react to geopolitical news, like the Brexit trade deal talks and trade relations (or rather trade spat) between the United States and China. As for macroeconomic data, the Japanese currency usually pays more attention to major releases in other countries rather than to domestic reports.
USD/JPY was about flat at 104.03 as of 9:59 GMT today after rising to the daily high of 104.35 earlier. EUR/JPY rose from 124.36 to 124.67, and its session maximum was at 124.97. GBP/JPY opened at 138.54, rallied to the session high of 139.07, but retreated back to trade near the opening level later.
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