USD 35 billion yen cause intervention in the finance ministry invest $35 billion to sliding prop up.

By Makiko Yamazaki and Kevin Buckland
Published 04/29/2024, 07:20 PM
Updated 04/30/2024, 08:46 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan stands ready to deal with foreign exchange matters around the clock, top currency diplomat Masato Kanda said on Tuesday, as money market data suggested the finance ministry had spent around $35 billion to prop up the sliding yen a day earlier.

Kanda would not say whether the authorities were behind the currency’s surge on Monday, but traders and a former Japanese official said it had all the markings of an intervention.

“We are ready 24 hours, so whether it’s London, New York or Wellington, it doesn’t make a difference,” the vice finance minister for international affairs told reporters.

Central bank money market projections published late on Tuesday showed it anticipated a surge in yen receipts on Wednesday, which might point to heavy yen buying on Monday as foreign exchange trades typically take two days to settle.

The data suggests the spending may have been close to the daily record 5.62 trillion yen – nearly $36 billion at current exchange rates – when Japan intervened in October 2022. If it has done so again, it also signals that after weeks of rhetoric it is willing to tackle the currency’s weakness.

Factors other than foreign exchange intervention can influence money market balances.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier on Tuesday also refused to be drawn into discussing foreign exchange moves or interventions.

The yen was last quoted at 157.03 to the dollar in New York trade, after slumping as far as 160.245 on Monday to mark another 34-year low.

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While Kanda side-stepped direct questions about intervention, he said the authorities would act if excessive moves triggered by speculators negatively impact the daily lives of people.

“Higher prices of import goods are said to be affecting most vulnerable people and could be a drag on Japan’s momentum to raise actual wages,” he said.

“The government would need to respond to such moves.”


The yen has been falling for years as global interest rates have shot up in response to resurgent inflation while Japan’s have stayed near zero.

That gap has driven money out of yen and into other better-yielding currencies and even in March, when Japan hiked rates for the first time since 2007, the yen fell.

Momentum and fading expectations of rate cuts in the United States have also helped push down the yen, which has lost more than third of its value on the dollar since early 2021 and brought Japan into the market to defend its currency in 2022.

Former top currency diplomat Mitsuhiro Furusawa told Reuters it was highly likely Japan had acted again this week.

Krishna Srinivasan, director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, said the lender sees Japanese authorities fully committed to a flexible exchange rate regime and is in close talks with them.

While the yen’s recent weakness largely reflects interest rate differentials, other factors are playing an increasing role in the moves, including large carry trade positions, he said, speaking in Singapore. He declined to comment specifically on yen moves of the past few days.

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