Foreign Currency

Japan’s Kanda Declines to Say If Authorities Intervened on Yen

(Bloomberg) — Japan’s top currency official declined to say if authorities stepped into the foreign exchange market early Thursday in Tokyo, in a comment following a sharp strengthening of the yen.

“I have nothing to say now on whether we intervened in the foreign currency market,” Masato Kanda, vice minister for international affairs, told Bloomberg News on Thursday. “We will disclose intervention data at the end of this month.”

Read more: Yen’s Surge Stirs Talk That Japan Is in the FX Market Once Again

The yen strengthened sharply against the dollar early Thursday in Tokyo, briefly touching 153.04 from around the 157.50 mark.

The latest sharp swing in the yen follows a sudden jump on Monday. Bloomberg analysis of central bank accounts suggests Monday’s move was likely an intervention by Tokyo worth around ¥5.5 trillion ($35.4 billion).

Read more: BOJ Accounts Suggest Japan Intervened Monday to Support Yen

The pattern of Japanese officials declining to comment on sharp moves serves a strategy of keeping market participants in the dark over the finance ministry’s currency strategy. A lack of immediate clarity may help keep traders more on edge and less willing to bet against the yen even if the ministry hasn’t actually taken action.

Japan discloses any intervention moves at the end of each month and gives more detailed information every quarter. Japan spent around $59 billion yen in 2022 to prop up the yen, an indication that it is prepared to take action in markets.

The latest move comes after the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting overnight, at which officials decided to hold interest-rates steady. The world’s biggest bond market surged as Jerome Powell downplayed the possibility of rate hikes and the Federal Reserve said it will shrink its balance sheet at a slower pace to ease strains in money markets.

Kanda and Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki are in Georgia this week to attend a series of international conferences including the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting.

(Updates with more details)

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