NEW YORK: The Japanese yen jumped across the board on Thursday after monetary authorities intervened in the foreign exchange market to boost the battered currency for the first time since 1998, although analysts said Japan may struggle to keep the yen strong for long.
The dollar was last down 1.5% at 141.91 yen. It hit a low of 140.31 after the intervention, having earlier reached a fresh 24-year peak of 145.9 yen. The spread between the day’s high and low for the pair was the widest since June 2016.
The euro, Australian dollar and pound also plunged against the Japanese currency, before regaining a little ground.
Confirmation of the intervention came just hours after the BOJ decided to maintain low interest rates to support the country’s fragile economic recovery.
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters the central bank could hold off on hiking rates or changing its dovish policy guidance for years.
In contrast, central banks around the world, most notably the US Federal Reserve, are raising rates aggressively and the policy divergence has weighed on the yen.
However, analysts said Japan can’t keep propping up the currency on a sustained basis.
“Over the next three to six months or possibly even longer, as long as those diverging paths of monetary policy are still in place and those differences persist, you’ll continue to see a weaker yen,” said Brendan McKenna, international economist and FX Strategist at Wells Fargo Securities.
“Yields in the US today are up almost six basis points or so and yields in Japan are down. So I think if anything the spread should continue to favor the US dollar as we go forward, and that’s something that will continue to result in a weaker yen through the end of this year and probably into early 2023,” he added.
The US 10-year yield hit 3.68%, the highest since February 2011. It was last up 16 basis points at 3.674.
Even after Thursday’s moves, the dollar is still up 23.2% against the yen this year.
In a very busy day for markets, the pound pared the small advance it had made in London trading after the Bank of England raised interest rates by 50 basis points.
The hike was in line with expectations but markets had been pricing in a small chance of a larger 75 bp move.
Sterling was last 0.2% higher against the dollar at $1.1295, not too far from a fresh 37-year low of $1.1213, hit in Asia trading.
The euro was little changed at $0.9838, recovering from a new 20-year trough hit earlier in the global session.
The dollar index - which measures the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies - was down 0.3% at 111.17, sliding from a 20-year high of 111.81 hit early in the day following the conclusion of the Fed’s policy meeting on Wednesday.
The US central bank issued new projections showing rates peaking at 4.6% next year with no cuts until 2024. It raised its target interest rate range by another 75 basis points (bps) overnight to 3%-3.25%, as was widely expected.