Daily Morning Report 25.05.2015

The Japanese yen flat in Asia on Monday after trade data showed a mixed picture with exports up solidly, but imports down more than expected.
USD/JPY changed hands at 121.57, flat, while AUD/USD traded at 0.7810, down 0.18%. EUR/USD changed hands at 1.0989, down 0.22%. Japan’s trade balance for April reached a deficit of Y53.4 billion, narrower than the Y319 billion deficit seen, and exports rose 8.0%, better than the 6.4% increase expected and imports declined 4.2%, more than the 1.5% drop expected. Markets in the United States are closed for Memorial Day. On Friday, a mostly upbeat Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday “it will be appropriate” for the Fed to start raising the federal funds rate from near zero “at some point this year” if the economy performs as she expects. Yellen said she would want to see “continued improvement in labor market conditions” and become “reasonably confident” inflation will move back to 2% “over the medium term” — the same two conditions the Fed’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee has listed in its last two policy statements. Downplaying apparent first-quarter economic weakness, Yellen strongly suggested those conditions will be met if her fairly optimistic economic forecast is fulfilled. “I expect inflation to move up toward our objective of 2% as the economy strengthens further and as transitory influences wane.” But Yellen reiterated that rate hikes are apt to be “gradual” because of various headwinds that are still restraining the economy.” She also echoed the FOMC statement in saying, “it will be several years before the federal funds rate would be back to its normal, longer-run level.” At the weekend, Reuters reported that Greece cannot make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month unless it achieves a deal with creditors, quoting the interior minister in what it said are the most explicit remarks yet from Athens about the likelihood of default if talks fail. “The four installments for the IMF in June are 1.6 billion euros. This money will not be given and is not there to be given,” Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis told Greek Mega TV’s weekend show.