Japan on High Alert: Currency Interventions Loom Over Yen Fluctuations


On Tuesday, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki expressed openness to implementing measures to address the yen's decline, echoing a cautionary statement made by the nation's leading currency official the day before.

Suzuki acknowledged the mixed impact of a weakened yen on the economy, highlighting both its benefits and drawbacks. However, he emphasized that excessive volatility could heighten uncertainty for businesses, potentially impeding economic growth.

Consequently, Suzuki underscored Tokyo's emphasis on monitoring market movements' pace rather than fixating on precise currency levels.

"Rapid currency moves are undesirable," Suzuki noted following a cabinet meeting. "It is important for currencies to move stably, reflecting economic fundamentals."

On Tuesday morning, the dollar experienced a modest decline against the yen, reaching 151.26, encountering strong resistance around the 152 mark, largely due to concerns over potential intervention by Japanese authorities. Year-over-date, the US dollar has appreciated approximately 7% against the yen.

Suzuki refrained from discussing the likelihood of Tokyo intervening to address the yen's decline but indicated that the speed of the currency's fluctuations would influence any decision to participate in the market.

"If I respond to inquiries about currency intervention, it could inadvertently impact the market," Suzuki stated, while also adding, "If there are excessive movements, we will respond accordingly without ruling out any measures."

Japan's most recent interventions in the foreign exchange market occurred in September and October 2022 to prevent the yen from depreciating. The interventions took place initially when the dollar approached around 145 yen, followed by another intervention in October as the US currency surged to approximately 152 levels, reaching a 32-year high.

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