Wednesday, November 30

As intervention threat grows, Japan says confronting FX speculators ‘strictly’

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TOKYO — Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Friday that authorities were dealing with currency speculators “strictly,” as an extended sell-off of the yen kept markets on heightened alert for further dollar-selling intervention by Tokyo.

“We are confronting speculators strictly,” Suzuki told a regular news conference, when asked whether the Japanese yen was under attack by speculators. “It’s inappropriate for me to comment on such a question under the current circumstances.”

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Suzuki was speaking as the dollar strengthened to 150.22 yen , the highest since August 1990, earlier Friday, after breaking the key psychological level of 150 on Thursday.

The dollar has surged around 30% against the yen this year, despite Japan spending up to a record 2.8 trillion yen ($19.7 billion) intervening in the foreign exchange market in September to support its currency for the first time since 1998.

Suzuki underscored the importance of maintaining trust in Japan’s finances, after Britain was plunged into financial crisis in the wake of a violent market reaction to plans for huge unfunded tax cuts, forcing its premier to resign after just six weeks in office.

“It’s not that Japan’s finances are undergoing a major shift in phase leading to the current yen weakening,” Suzuki said. “We must adhere to fiscal discipline.” (Reporting by Kantaro Komiya and Tetsushi Kajimoto Editing by Chang-Ran Kim & Shri Navararatnam & Shri Navaratnam)