News / Asia

Japan Moves to Stem Rising Yen

Japan Moves to Stem Rising Yen
Japan Moves to Stem Rising Yen

Japan's government and the country's central bank took action Thursday to dilute the yen.  The Japanese currency’s strong standing against the dollar is making exports more expensive, hurting efforts to revive the country's moribund economy. 

After many days of repeated statements by top Japanese government officials expressing alarm about the surging yen, which they blame mainly on currency speculators, rhetoric was converted into action.

The Finance Ministry acknowledges buying dollars during Thursday Asia trading.  That move, the first such intervention by Tokyo in half a year, quickly sent the dollar up by about two yen.  But the American currency still was not able to break above 80 yen to the dollar.

"I doubt that being able to keep the yen weak is the goal because in the past that sort of goal has been unfruitful," said Naomi Fink, an equities analyst in Tokyo for Jefferies, a global securities and investment banking group. "If you're looking at decreasing some of the speculative pressures that are perhaps damaging corporate sentiment and risk asset markets, then perhaps this move might be a success. But if you're measuring success by being able to reverse the currency entirely, there's a lot of room for disappointment there."

Japan’s central bank essentially teamed with the Finance Ministry, making moves to help the yen ease and spur the country’s economy.

The Bank of Japan expanded a program to purchase assets and boost liquidity to a total of 50 trillion yen - that is equivalent to about $640 billion.

Fink says the central bank’s action on the same day as the Finance Ministry intervention comes as a surprise.

"Many times in the past, the Ministry of Finance has intervened and that money has not been left in the system," noted Fink. "The Bank of Japan has not necessarily engaged in additional easing at the same time as currency intervention. So, historically, it's an unusual development."

Japan’s economy, already in the doldrums for many years, was jolted into recession by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the northeastern part of the country. However, restoration of supply chains has recently improved production levels.

After Asian stock markets Wednesday plunged about two percent, on average,  Thursday was largely a better day for investors.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index reacted positively to Thursday’s moves. It gained 22 points, nearly one quarter of one percent.

Bargain hunters drove the Shanghai and Shenzen composite indexes up one fifth of one percent.

But in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng slid 108 points, a fall of around one half of one percent.

The KOSPI index here in South Korea fell 47 points, a drop of 2.3 percent, closing at a four-month low, amid selling of exporters amid continuing concern about the U.S. and European economies.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid