Trading foreign currencies in the derivative markets is not an easy pie to devour. As a lone individual trader along with many others, you have to compete with well-established banks, trading houses and other financial institutions that have developed years of experience in trading currencies. You cannot hope to make gains while you remain uninformed. To be successful you must benchmark the way operations take place in well-established players of the market.
This means that your fundamental knowledge must cover the basic and major aspects in your analysis; as such big players do it. The knowledge includes current economic data of the country, the effects of dynamic interaction between economies and any other unique elements affecting currencies.
The Japanese Yen is among the eight most traded currencies of the world. These eight currencies account for more than 80% of the global trades. The Bank of Japan, mandated to monitor JPY, faces damning problems when it comes to stabilizing JPY. It has to keep interest rates lower to allow its exports to run, to spur growth and fight deflation and to keep employment figures up.
You need to dig more in to Japanese economy to trade JPY successfully. From being oldest economy in the world to being the leader in electronics, automobile manufacturing and ship construction, Japan still lacks the energy to give it a strong economic growth. For most of the past decade, Japanese economy has lingered at meager growth rates, up to 2% at max and sometimes even contracting. Since the burgeoning economy of China started to overshadow global economy, Japan with its dwindling fertility rates and older workforce has to rely more and more on economic partnership with regional powerhouses such as South Korea.
You also need to understand that many countries around the globe, particularly in Asia, keep large reserves of Japanese Yen to help them in import Japanese goods and meeting trade obligations. That said, Japan generates huge trade surpluses and altogether garners a lot of positive strength for its currency. At the same time, Japanese economy is heavily entangled in domestic debt. Its domestic nature of debt, that does not create alarm bells with the traders; however, it has caused political turmoil in the country.
There are specific elements that drive the demand and supply of the JPY in foreign exchange market. Just like the consumer / business confidence report is released in the USA, the Bank of Japan issues Tankan Report every quarter which explains the Japanese business mood. The Japanese stocks and trading are particularly responsive to this report. Second major driver for JPY is the carry trading carried out by Bank of Japan. The Bank of Japan offers its own currency to traders around the globe, to enable them to benefit from other high yielding currencies, against some premium of course.
Among other important aspects, affecting Japanese stock and currency are the natural disaster the country faces. It has been affected countless times with powerful earthquakes, hurricanes and even tsunamis.
If you are a long-term trader, such fundamental information is beneficial for you. However, even the short-term traders must know, what actually is going on behind a currency when they attempt to explain price bars with technical tools.