During this morning’s bond rout when a poor French auction sparked a high-volume selloff in German Bunds which also hit Japanese JGBs before slamming US TSYs, Goldman said that “with 10Y JGBs closing at 0.095 and getting hit at 10bp intraday, focus will be on how the BOJ will react tomorrow [i.e. now]. Opinions seem pretty split with some expecting an increase in purchase size in the 5-10 bucket, while others feel that the BOJ will let the 10Y run loose given the current sell off is more fundamental than event driven. With BOJ behind buying pace for 80tn reference anyway, personally I feel it doesn’t hurt the BOJ to remind market of their presence.”
Goldman was right: the BOJ, panicking after the overnight bond rout, not only reminded markets of its presence, but did so in dramatic fashion when it first boosted the amount of JGBs bought in the 5-10 year bucket from JPY 450BN to JPY 500 BN, and then for good measure unleashed the QQEWYC bazooka, announcing it would purchase an unlimited amount of 10Y JGBs at 0.11%, just a fraction above the BOJ’s 0.10% line in the sand, only the second time it has done so in 2017 since February.
In immediate reaction, the benchmark Japanese TSY, which was trading north of 0.105% and flirting with 0.11%, promptly slid back to 0.095% now that it has become clear that all the hawkish posturing by central banks was just that.
Japanese market were relieved with the Topix paring losses to 0.3%, or 1,611.52 as of 10:23am in Tokyo, down from a drop as big as 0.7%, same as the Nikkei, which had dropped 0.7% earlier, then trimming losses by more than half, while the Yen, after trading at 113.250, immediately weakened by 25 pips to 113.50.
And so, when push had again come to shove, the BOJ – the central bank which owns 100% of Japan’s GDP in bond terms and can’t afford any sharp, or not so sharp, moves higher in yields – admitted that all the recent warnings and talk about higher rates was nothing but.