Financial Facts: The Japanese Yen

Most countries (and unions) have their own currencies. A currency is something that is agreed upon by the government of that country as money and uses this money (usually banknotes, coin pieces) as a medium for exchange. Australia, for example, uses Australian Dollars, Czech Republic, Denmark, and Norway use the Krone, while countries that are part of the European Union use Euros. Currencies don’t usually perfectly equate each other; 1 U.S. Dollar does not equal 1 Euro.

Whether the currency of a country rises or falls south compared to other countries does not always mirror how well that country is doing economically. Today’s value of one dollar equates to 110.36 in Japanese Yen – but that does not mean that Japan’s economy is doing poorly. Japan can have a great GDP but a subjectively weak yen. This is because of the intricate history of the Japanese Yen.

A Brief History on Yen; the Japanese Currency

During the Edo period, Japan relied on Tokugawa coinage. Their currency was called “mon” and lasted from 1336 to 1870. Then came the yen. Initially, the yen came from adopting what was commonly being exchanged throughout Southeast Asia, which at the time were silver Spanish dollar coins. This was thanks to Hong Kong selling Japan their machinery for minting coins. Thus, the name “yen” was conceived because those silver Spanish dollar coins were round, and yen means “round object”. The yen only started circulating during the Meiji Era, on June 27, 1871, after the Act was signed.

Because the Japanese yen relied on silver standards instead of gold, their currency weakened against the U.S. dollar (which used gold) because of the silver devaluation that occurred in 1873. They would switch to a gold standard by 1897, which kept the yen worth 50 cents. They would let go of this standard by the end of 1931; yet the yen would fall lower within the next years, hitting 1 yen to 23 cents by the time the Second World War had started.

So Why Is the Yen Still So Undervalued?

Combined with the rockiness of its early history, wartime inflation, and post-war currency fixes, the yen ended up hitting a low of ¥360 to $1 based on the Bretton Woods system. The war had ravaged not only the country but their financial trading system with the word as well, rendering exchange rates virtually unpredictable. The Bretton Woods system was created for a sense of balance among trading between the Japanese economy and other countries, fixing the rate at ¥360 to $1. This all halted in 1971 when the U.S. stopped using the gold standard in their financial system.

 By then, there was an imbalance in how expensive imports were in Japan versus how much exported Japanese products were in other countries. This was fixed when the Smithsonian Agreement was made. 10 countries formed the Smithsonian agreement to amend the exchange rate disparity created by the Bretton Woods Agreement. They would  let the yen float on its own, with a little bit of government intervention to make sure the yen wouldn’t drop too far.

Trials of the Modern Yen

The 1980’s would bring many different difficulties for the yen to face, until 1985, when the Plaza Accord agreement was signed. The yen rose from ¥239 to ¥128 to a dollar in a matter of three years. By 1995, it peaked at ¥80 to $1. The yen would later decline due to the Japanese asset price bubble, and the global economic crisis that occurred last 2008. Some speculate that the Japanese purposely devalue the yen to cheapen exports, thus enabling better business and demand.

Behind the Japanese Yen Symbol

The internationally understood symbol for the Japanese Yen is ¥. It isn’t used only for the Japanese yen (JPY), it also stands for yuan (CNY) which is the currency used in China. This symbol looks just like the Roman alphabetical y, with two parallel lines crossing it. It is placed before the number that represents its value, just as the $ does for the dollar – like “¥36” to indicate that it costs 36 yen.  To be specific, the character that the Chinese use is a double width character that looks like ¥ while the Japanese use the single-width version that looks like ¥.

Some speculate that the reason the symbol of Yen (¥) looks as such is that of the way foreigners couldn’t pronounce it properly. In Japan, it is pronounced as “en”, but foreigners supposedly had such a hard time following the sharpness of the “e” in “en”, that they ended up softening it with a y – thus the yen, and its symbol.

How to Type the Japanese Yen Sign on the Keyboard

Compared to touchscreen keyboards, mechanical keyboards don’t have the option for all symbols easily displayed, despite the nifty shift key. The yen sign is one of those symbols that needs a few extra buttons to type out. In case you must write the yen sign for a document or online, you have two options. The quickest option is to hold the ALT key down while typing “0165” – without the quotation marks. If the internet is available, you may search “yen symbol” on your web browser, then copy-paste the symbol that turns up in the results.

Latest Updates on The Japanese Yen Exchange Rate

The Japanese Yen Exchange rate has seen a range of rates since June 2016. Its highest point was August 18, 2016, when it hit 99.9060 yen to a dollar. The trend then went up again to 103 yen to a dollar on September 5, 2016, dipping again later that month to 100.3590 yen to a dollar. The yen would fall from November 4 onwards, hitting its peak, opening at 118.2680, hitting a high of 118.3980, and closing at 118.2140 yen to a dollar by December 16, 2016.

The yen strengthened yet again on April 17, 2017, as it reached its highest point at 108.3230 yen to a dollar since November. It peaked again just last May 11, 2017, at 114.3280 yen to a dollar, staying within the 110-111-yen to a dollar range for the past month. There are many things that influence how the yen dips and strengthens; from Japanese companies doing well, to politics, to tragedies that unfold and still affect the people. Investing in trading yen for dollars is a risk, but it’s well-worth it if you’ve got the knack for predicting economic stability and turbulence – or if you’re just plain lucky.

What are the Rates of the Japanese Yen to USD?

The current exchange rate is 110.36 Japanese Yen to a dollar. The yen has strengthened to as much as 75.81200 mid-2011 but weakened four years later to 125.605 in the 5th of June 2015. Predictions about whether the yen will strengthen or weaken are usually left to the experts, but even amateurs can be cautious with exchanging USD for yen when they see major global events about to unfold. These can be anything from large-scale company problems, natural disasters, war, and political events.

Understanding the Japanese Yen vs. U.S. Dollar Chart

To easily track the behavior of the yen versus the dollar, forex sites use line charts (also known as currency charts) to show the trend of the yen. When it comes to the amount of the yen versus the dollar, the amount of yen is on the y-axis, while the date is on the x-axis. Most sites that you visit for these currency charts give you options of timetables for a sense of comparison, be it on a 10-year basis to as short as the readings last Wednesday, all to help you reach your personalized financial decision.

The point of having a currency chart is that it helps make educated decisions from understanding the patterns of the strengthening or weakening of the currency you are monitoring. You may notice that the yen weakens to the dollar come wintertime, for example. Though the term “strengthened” is used, it does not necessarily equate to a larger number. A currency strengthens when it is closer to the amount of a dollar, which is what is presently used as a global currency.

What are the Rates of the Japanese Yen to the Philippine Peso?

Many Filipino tourists have recently been visiting Japan, thanks to a boost in ties with both tourism sectors. Thus, the high demand for exchanging pesos to Japanese yen surges. Currently, 1 Philippine Peso equates to 2.23 Japanese Yen. Though this is the official number, it may not be the same when you exchange money as a tourist. Any bank you come across, as well as money exchangers, will add interest. You will see a little bit of a difference when it comes to what you pay for versus what you get.

Fast Facts About the Yen

Did you know that the dollar, euro, and pound may be the top three most-traded currencies in the world – but where are the Asian currencies? You guessed it – in fourth place stands the yen. Because it is so popular, international transactions use yen it to serve as their reserve currency. Also - the weight of a yen coin is equivalent to a gram.

Find a Site to Help You Track the Japanese Yen ETF

“ETF” stands for Exchange Traded Fund. An ETF is a marketable security that monitors the situation of bonds, commodities, assets, etcetera. Because it’s a marketable security, that means it is a financial instrument that you invest in and can be easily exchanged for cash. The Japanese Yen can be an example of a currency ETF, which portrays the behavior of the performance of the yen against the currency of your choice and turning that into a venture for investing.

If you live in another country and want to invest in Japanese Yen ETF’s to widen your port, there are arrays of them online that you may consider, and you may look at online sites such as “etfdb”. You can pick them depending on which ones have the largest assets, have the lowest expense rations, or have the highest yen to dollar returns. For instance, YCL – the symbol for Ultra Yen ETF, has the highest yen to dollar returns (10.39%) according to the overview of etfdb. It’s a good idea to use these websites as a possible gauge of what companies and products are good to invest in. You can then visit their website and avail of their investment products if you’re interested.

What Is the Forecast for the Japanese Yen this 2017?

While no one can tell what the future holds (and how that future is going to affect financial matters of each country), investors must make predictions are based on intelligent points. It is possible to predict trends in the currency market – and you can get pretty good at it too, as Eisuke Sakakibara is.

Eisuke Sakakibara, once known as “Mr. Yen”, claimed that the yen could very possibly hit the 2-digit mark this year because of the supposed interests of Donald Trump in weakening the dollar. Currently working at Aoyama Gakuin University as a professor, Sakakibara was famous for helping the yen strengthen during the 90’s. In summary, Sakakibara states that as long it is made clear that monetary policy isn’t used when it comes to Japan’s exchange rate, then Tokyo’s may do what they want with its trading issues.

Sites for References On Japanese Yen Futures

What is a future in terms of finance? A future is a contract you sign that binds you to buy or sell an asset during a certain day and time, no matter what. What this does is it stabilizes the amount of that asset, promising that it will be bought or sold for a certain dictated amount in the future, thus regulating its price. The asset can either be physically delivered or can simply be given in money. It’s still a risk, as the product can either be worth more or less by the time you have it.