A recent Financial Times article commented on the 93% correlation this year between changes in the ¥ / € rate and global stock market movements. It showed that during 2007, whenever the euro has risen against the yen, stocks have also risen, and vice versa. This could be interesting background info for anyone who dabbles in shares.
This analysis also prompted me to have a look at the chart above, showing the yen/dollar rate. It is a good proxy for US chemical exports to Asia. And as you can see, there has really been quite a dramatic shift since July. The dollar peaked in late June at 124 yen, and now only buys 108 yen. That’s a 13% fall in 5 months.
And the rate of fall has been increasing. In mid-October, the dollar bought 118 yen. So it has fallen 8% in 6 weeks. No wonder that Japanese and Chinese premiers are concerned, as I described earlier this week. If this continues, we will soon be approaching the 102 yen level, which has served as the bottom of the dollar’s trading range for over 10 years.
Companies who have been profiting, or suffering, from the dollar’s recent fall will no doubt be paying great attention to its progress over the next few weeks. A fall below 100 yen would take us into uncharted water, and seriously worry other countries, such as those in the Middle East, who currently tie their currency to the dollar.
Its been a while since we had an old-fashioned currency crisis. One might be just around the corner.