In a notable development, inflation in Tokyo dipped below the 2% threshold for the first time in over eighteen months, showcasing a more pronounced deceleration than initially anticipated. The recently disclosed minutes from the Bank of Japan’s meeting, held on Friday, revealed that board members are deliberating the robustness of price growth and the optimal timing for an expected interest rate hike. The unexpected softening in inflation figures is poised to give the Bank of Japan pause, potentially influencing their decision on the timing of ending negative interest rates.
Against this backdrop, traders propelled stocks to yet another record high, marking the sixth consecutive day of gains, underlining the economy’s ongoing resilience. The latest US gross domestic product (GDP) data defied recession forecasts, reinforcing the positive outlook for Corporate America. Notably, a key metric gauging underlying inflation aligned with the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, a reassuring signal for many market participants. The encouraging economic indicators suggest a potential soft landing in the coming year, with positive earnings growth anticipated to further drive equity markets.
Meanwhile, US 10-year yields experienced a 6-basis point decline to reach 4.12%. Swap contracts continued to fully factor in a Federal Reserve interest-rate cut in May, concurrently elevating expectations for a cumulative cut of around 140 basis points throughout the year. The robust rally in equities has been fueled by diminishing inflationary pressures and the growing possibility of Federal Reserve rate cuts in 2024.