Japanese Housewives

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DEFINITION of 'Japanese Housewives'

In the foreign exchange world, a collective term for the legions of Japanese housewives who resorted to currency trading in the first decade of the new millennium. With Japanese interest rates near zero percent for most of the decade, their motivation for currency trading was to increase the low returns on their portfolios.
These homemaker-traders are also called "Mrs. Watanabes."

BREAKING DOWN 'Japanese Housewives'

Japanese housewives have had a discernible impact on currency markets. Bank of Japan officials said in 2007 that the housewives' trading activity helped to stabilize currency markets because of their tendency to buy on dips and sell into rallies.
A significant amount of this trading was carried out through online margin accounts, which offered leverage of 20 to 100 times. Carry trades, which involve borrowing in low-interest rate currencies and investing in higher yield assets, were also a favored strategy for many of the Japanese housewives.

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