Bitcoin volatility expected on Bank of Japan rate decision Friday. Here’s why.

Bitcoin volatility expected on Bank of Japan rate decision Friday. Here's why.

The Potential Impact of Bank of Japan’s Yield Curve Control (YCC) on the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Market

Traders in the financial markets always eagerly anticipate volatility as it presents them with opportunities for increased profits. However, the recent lack of volatility in the bitcoin (BTC) market has left traders searching for catalysts that could awaken the cryptocurrency from its slumber. One potential catalyst on the horizon is the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the world’s third-largest central bank. As the only heavyweight institution maintaining a loose pro-liquidity policy, the BOJ’s actions could have a significant impact on global bond markets, exchange rates, and liquidity conditions. This, in turn, could ripple into the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

To understand why the BOJ’s actions could influence the blockchain industry, it’s important to delve into the central bank’s strategy. Since September 2016, the BOJ has been implementing a yield curve control (YCC) program. This program involves purchasing government bonds in large quantities to keep the 10-year government bond yield near zero percent. The perpetual bond buying has injected substantial liquidity into the global financial system and exerted downward pressure on bond yields worldwide.

However, on Friday, the BOJ is expected to soften its grip on the country’s bond markets. Market analysts predict that the central bank might widen the band within which the 10-year government bond yield fluctuates from its current ±50 basis points (bps) to ±100 bps. This adjustment would indirectly taper the liquidity-boosting bond purchases, symbolizing a potential shift in the BOJ’s approach.

Goldman Sachs’ economics research team suggests that widening the yield band would be a step toward abandoning the YCC program or admitting the central bank’s inability to control yields effectively. The move is significant because it could trigger increased volatility in traditional markets, including bond yields, bond market volatility, the dollar index, and global liquidity conditions. Interestingly, the cryptocurrency market has historically demonstrated negative correlations with these traditional markets. This means that any volatility resulting from changes to the BOJ’s YCC could potentially bring volatility to the blockchain and cryptocurrency market as well.

The potential impact of the BOJ’s YCC expansion can be analyzed in different ways. Firstly, regarding financial markets, the exchange rates, term premiums on sovereign bonds, and global risk premiums could be affected. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) emphasized earlier this year that the YCC could influence these aspects. An adjustment in the BOJ’s yield band might lead to sharp rises in Japanese yields. Consequently, Japanese investors could be inclined to sell their foreign bond holdings in favor of domestic bonds, resulting in higher foreign bond yields. This shift in money flow would also affect risk assets, as bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

The global relevance of the YCC can be further understood by considering Japan’s position as the world’s largest creditor nation. With record net external assets of 418.63 trillion yen ($3 trillion) in 2022, Japanese investors have been avid buyers of foreign bonds due to low yields at home. However, if the BOJ’s policy reverses and yields rise, it could cause global yields to increase as well, especially amid ongoing hiking cycles. This vulnerability was evident during the quasi run on U.K. sovereign bonds last fall, clearly demonstrating the interconnectedness of the global bond market.

As these potential BOJ developments unfold, Bitcoin remains at a price of $29,470, experiencing a modest 0.4% gain at press time. While this may seem unrelated to the BOJ’s market influence, it is essential to closely monitor potential changes in YCC and traditional market volatility, as they tend to echo throughout the cryptocurrency market.

In conclusion, the Bank of Japan’s potential shift in its yield curve control (YCC) policy could have substantial implications for the broader financial market and, importantly, the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. The BOJ’s influence on bond yields, liquidity conditions, and exchange rates could introduce volatility and impact market sentiments, eventually leading to increased volatility in the crypto market. As a result, traders and investors in the blockchain industry should pay close attention to the BOJ’s upcoming decisions and understand their potential consequences for their investment strategies.