TOKYO: Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Friday that rapid currency moves were undesirable and that authorities wouldn’t rule out any options against excessive swings, in a fresh warning to investors trying to sell the yen.
The dollar touched a 10-month high near 148 yen this week on expectations the Federal Reserve may keep interest rates elevated to combat stubbornly high inflation, a sharp contrast to the Bank of Japan (BOJ), which is in no mood to exit its easing policy.
“It’s important for currencies to move stably reflecting fundamentals. Excessive moves are undesirable,” Suzuki told reporters after a cabinet meeting. “We will carefully monitor currency market moves with a high sense of urgency. We won’t rule out any options if currency moves become excessive,” he said.
Suzuki’s comment follows a similar warning from his deputy Masato Kanda, vice minister of finance for international affairs, on Wednesday, although analysts don’t think intervention is imminent at current levels.
The dollar has already broken above 145 yen, a level that triggered Japan’s first yen-buying operation in 24 years last September.
Some investors see the next threshold at around 150 yen, considered a psychologically key level that triggered two-consecutive interventions last October.
Most of Japan’s past intervention has been in the form of yen-selling/dollar-buying as Japanese authorities tend to be more concerned about a strong yen and its effect on exporters.
The weak yen over the past year, however, has fueled worries among the public about higher living costs.
Suzuki stopped short of saying the strong dollar may become an issue of discussion when the G20 leaders meet on Sept. 9-10 but noted other issues likely to be on the agenda.
“Downside risks remain in the global economy as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and global policy tightening continue,” Suzuki added.
“I hope the G20 summit to conduct constructive dialogue and produce meaningful results so that the G20 leaders can help achieve stable and sustainable growth in the world economy.”