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Japan remains a rock in a sea of troubles.

In our view, a bullish scenario for the yen (against the dollar and other majors) might unfold if the developing global economic downturn becomes more pronounced, with the negative feedback loop into markets larger and broader than anticipated. Periods of heightened financial stress are typically supportive for the currency as Japanese investors tend to repatriate capital allocated overseas during market turbulence.

Another yen-positive development could emerge if the Bank of Japan surprises and normalises its policy settings more quickly and abruptly than envisaged. We would note that market expectations for a change at any time soon appear low. More assertive steps from the central bank, especially at a time when other major central banks look to be nearing the end of their respective tightening cycles, could encourage greater inflows into Japan, and discourage offshore allocations by Japanese investors.

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