TOKYO, JAPAN: Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday he was watching currency moves “with a sense of urgency” after a late spike in the yen, using a phrase suggesting insinuating policymakers’ concern regarding excessive volatility.
While refusing to comment on particular foreign exchange levels, Aso stressed the importance of stability in the yen, which tends to be seen as a safe-haven asset attracting demand when global markets are fraught.
Japanese policymakers to talk down their currency to prevent it from strengthening, something that can undermine export competitiveness and harm Japan’s export-reliant economy.
“Currency stability is important. We must closely watch the currency market moves with a sense of urgency,” Aso said.
Aso uttered the comments at a routine news conference when asked about the yen’s appreciation to a seventh-month peak below 105 yen to the dollar on Monday, resulting from worries over the Sino-U.S trade war.
At 00300 GMT, the yen was trading at 105.74 against the U.S dollar.
The finance minister also added that recent market volatility would not change the government position of proceeding with October’s scheduled sales tax spike to 10% from 8%, barring a big economic shock.
The government of Japan has distanced itself from the forex market since 2011 when it intervened heavily to stem extravagant yen gains versus the U.S dollar in the wake of Fukushima nuclear crisis caused by a huge earthquake and tsunami.