The Curious Case of the Yen as a Safe Haven Currency: A Forensic Analysis
22 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2013
Date Written: November 2013
During risk-off episodes, the yen is a safe haven currency and on average appreciates against the U.S. dollar. We investigate the proximate causes of yen risk-off appreciations. We find that neither capital inflows nor expectations of the future monetary policy stancecan explain the yen’s safe haven behavior. In contrast, we find evidence that changes in market participants’ risk perceptions trigger derivatives trading, which in turn lead to changes in the spot exchange rate without capital flows. Specifically, we find that risk-offepisodes coincide with forward hedging and reduced net short positions or a buildup of net long positions in yen. These empirical findings suggest that offshore and complex financial transactions should be part of spillover analyses and that the effectiveness of capital flow management measures or monetary policy coordination to address excessive exchange rate volatility might be limited in certain cases.
Keywords: Currencies, Japan, Exchange rate appreciation, Capital flows, Monetary policy, Risk management, Safe Haven, Yen Volatility, Derivatives, foreign exchange, real exchange rate, exchange rates, exchange rate movements, currency swaps, exchange rate volatility, exchange markets, spot exchange rate, effective exchange rate, foreign exchange swaps, currency appreciation, foreign exchange market, currency risk, foreign exchange markets, capital inflows, real effective exchange rate, exchange rate appreciations, real exchange rate appreciation, alternative exchange rate, hedging, real exchange rate appreciations, foreign exchange transactions, risk aversion
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