DEFINITION of 'Mrs. Watanabe'
The archetypical Japanese housewife, who seeks the best use of her family’s savings. Though historically risk-averse, Mrs. Watanabe became a surprisingly big player in currency trading during the past decade in order to combat low interest rates in Japan. See also “Japanese Housewives.”
BREAKING DOWN 'Mrs. Watanabe'
While the name “Mrs. Watanabe” connotes a family matriarch, the term more broadly connotes any Japanese retail investor. Culturally, smaller Japanese investors have sought safe investment options. However, perpetually low interest rates since the 1990s led many to become active in the so-called “carry trade.”
The carry trade is a form of speculation in which investors borrow a low-cost currency like the yen and buy high-growth currency, netting a profit. In recent years, for example, Japanese housewives began accumulating Australian dollar deposits, which yielded a significantly higher rate than they could get at home.