December 4, 2023

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Japan Finance Chief Sends Warning After Yen’s Renewed Weakening

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(Bloomberg) — Japan’s Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki sent a warning shot to investors on Friday, relating that he had told his Group of 20 counterparts that there will be cases when appropriate responses are required in foreign exchange markets. 

“I said that excessive moves in the currency market are undesirable, and that there are cases that require appropriate responses,” Suzuki told reporters Friday. He was describing remarks in a meeting with G-20 finance ministers and central bankers in Marrakech, Morocco.

Japan’s appetite for intervening to shore up the yen has been a key focus for traders lately, with the currency lingering near 150 per dollar. It’s been under pressure this month thanks to rising US yields, with Thursday’s bigger-than-expected gain in consumer price data again triggering yen weakening.

Many market players see the 150 mark as the defense line that trigger Japan’s currency intervention. Officials bought the yen last year after it had tumbled past that mark.

Japan’s currency has depreciated more than 12% against the dollar this year as interest-rate differentials with US remained wide. The Federal Reserve has raised rates to tame inflation while the Bank of Japan has pledged to continue with monetary easing. 

Speaking soon after Suzuki, a senior Japanese finance ministry official told reporters that Suzuki didn’t try to send a warning to markets. He said Suzuki’s remarks were aimed at confirming that there’s been no change in stance on currency matters, given recent market developments.

Japan will take action if there are excessive moves in the yen, that official also said.

–With assistance from Erica Yokoyama.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.


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