Japan Stepped Into Forex Market Twice in October to Prop Up Yen

  • In Business
  • 2023-02-07 01:28:48Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Japan stepped into the foreign exchange market three times in total last year, according to a fuller picture of the government's latest intervention strategy to counter the yen's historic fall.

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The Ministry of Finance conducted currency interventions on Oct. 21 and 24, according to the daily operational report for the quarter ended December released by the ministry Tuesday. ¥5.6 trillion ($42.2 billion) and ¥729.6 billion were spent on the respective days to prop up the yen, which hit a 32-year low against the dollar last autumn.

Added to the surprise action taken on Sept. 22 that kicked off a period of intense yen scrutiny, Japan spent over nine trillion yen in just over a month to stop the yen's decline.

The more detailed data showed that Japan hadn't conducted any additional smoothing operations beyond the two days in which there were major currency moves, despite market speculation at the time.

Last year's intervention by the finance ministry was the first to support the yen since 1998. It sought to stem the yen's more than 20% decline against the dollar amid a widening policy gap with other central banks.

While Japan maintained rock-bottom rates to boost a sluggish economy, its global peers aggressively raised them to slow inflation. The divergence led to investors seeking more attractive returns on assets abroad, veering away from Japanese assets.

Read More: Yen Speculators Bow to Japan's Stealth Strategy as CPI Looms

After the first intervention in September, when ministry officials clearly announced that they had taken "decisive action," authorities began to adopt a strategy of secrecy over whether they had intervened.

By staying silent on whether they had entered markets, Japanese authorities kept traders in the dark about their plans.

What appeared to be clear action from the finance ministry on Oct. 21 also took place outside Tokyo hours, suggesting to traders that intervention could happen at any time. The government largely succeeded in sending the message that it's ready to take on speculators at any moment.

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