Haruhiko Kuroda of the BoJ stated he is in favour of raising the sales tax in an effort to reduce the budget deficit. This has encouraged traders to buy the Japanese yen and sell the US dollar. Mr Kuroda would like to see the sales tax rate doubled to 10% in April 2014, and the government has until October to make a decision. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is worried that the tax hike could do more harm than good, so it is far from a done deal.
Over the last nine months, Japan has pursued such an aggressive monetary policy that any policy which isn’t very expansionary could now help the yen pull back some of the ground it lost to the US dollar.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will make its latest statement. Economists are not expecting any changes in interest rates or quantitative easing, but dealers will listen out for any clues as to when the US central bank could taper its stimulus package, which could push the US dollar higher.