TOKYO: Japan intervened in the foreign exchange market on Thursday to buy yen for the first time since 1998, in an attempt to shore up the battered currency after the Bank of Japan stuck with ultra-low interest rates.
The move, which occurred in late Asia hours, saw the dollar plunge more than 2% to around 140.3 yen. There were no subsequent signs of further intervention or help for the BOJ from other central banks and the dollar was last around 1.25% lower at 142.25 yen at 12:07 p.m. ET/1607 GMT.. It had earlier traded more than 1% higher on the BOJ’s decision to stick to its super-loose policy stance, bucking a global tide of monetary tightening by central banks fighting soaring inflation.
“We have taken decisive action,” vice finance minister for international affairs Masato Kanda told reporters, responding in the affirmative when asked if that meant intervention.
Analysts, however, doubted whether the move would halt the yen’s prolonged slide for long. The currency has depreciated nearly 20% this year, sinking to 24-year lows, largely as aggressive US interest rate hikes push the dollar higher.
“The market was expecting some intervention at some point, given the increasing verbal interventions we have been hearing over the past few weeks,” said Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti Capital in London.
“But currency interventions are rarely successful and I expect today’s move will only provide a temporary (for the yen).” Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki declined to disclose how much authorities had spent buying yen and whether other countries had consented to the move.