Bloomberg News

Azumi on Guard Against Yen Moves, Declines Comment on Action

November 13, 2011

(Updates with Azumi quote in second paragraph.)

Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said he’s on guard against speculative yen trades while declining to comment on whether the nation has been selling the currency this month.

“I’m watching markets with great interest for speculative trading and excessive movements,” Azumi told reporters in Tokyo today. “I think unstable factors for markets including stocks are increasing since last week because of Europe, especially after problems emerged in Italy.”

The yen has strengthened more than 2 percent against the dollar from a low of 79.53 on Oct. 31 after Japan’s third publicly announced intervention this year. Azumi may have ordered more yen sales since then, Totan Research Co. said Nov. 9, citing analysis of the Bank of Japan’s current account and bond holdings.

Japan’s currency traded at 77.68 per dollar at 8:44 a.m. in Tokyo today compared with a post-World War II high of 75.35 on Oct. 31. Gains threaten the nation’s export-led economic recovery.

Azumi said Oct. 31 that intervention will continue until he’s “satisfied.” Barclays Bank Plc and Totan estimate that Japan sold 8 trillion yen ($103 billion) of currency that day, based on changes in the central bank’s balance sheet.

The finance minister reiterated today that he’s ready to take decisive action on the yen if needed.

Separately, Azumi said he isn’t considering a fourth extra budget for this year. Japan’s lower house of parliament approved yesterday Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s 12.1 trillion yen third supplementary budget to rebuild areas hit by the March earthquake and nuclear accident.

--With assistance from Masaki Kondo in Singapore and Kazumi Miura in Tokyo. Editors: Ken McCallum, Paul Panckhurst

To contact the reporter on this story: Toru Fujioka in Tokyo at tfujioka1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net


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