May 15, 2016 / 11:31 PM / a year ago

Factbox: Japan steps up yen intervention rhetoric, as it has in the past

6 Min Read

A pedestrian walks past electronic boards showing the picture of Japanese 10000 yen banknotes and 100 U.S. dollar banknotes outside a brokerage in Tokyo January 9, 2014.Yuya Shino

(Reuters) - Expectations are growing that Japanese currency authorities may intervene in the currency market after they explicitly warned they would do so, worried that the yen's rise to its highest levels in a year and a half will threaten the already sluggish economy.

Japan's currency intervention tends to follow verbal intervention by Finance Minister and other ministry officials.

Below are comments from Japanese officials in recent weeks, as well as those that preceded Japan's bouts of unilateral intervention in 2010. Japanese authorities have stayed away from the markets since they last intervened in 2011.

2016

May 10 (U.S. dollar = 109.27 yen)

Finance Minister Taro Aso, in a parliamentary committee:

"Japan obviously will intervene if one-sided moves persist."

"We're determined to prevent such one-sided moves from accelerating," saying the yen's gains earlier in the month was "quite rapid".

May 9 (U.S. dollar = 108.32 yen)

Aso, in a parliamentary committee:

"For Japan, excessive volatility in yen moves that affect Japan's trade, economic and fiscal policies - be it yen rises or yen falls - is undesirable. If such moves occur, Japan is ready to intervene in the market."

May 5 (U.S. dollar = 107.26 yen)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a news conference:

"We've seen some rapid and speculative moves in currency markets recently ... We will watch currency moves carefully and take action as needed."

May 4 (U.S. dollar = 107 yen)

Aso, in a news conference:

"One-sided, abrupt movements could have adverse impact on the economy, which is not desirable."

April 30 (U.S. dollar = 106.45 yen)

Aso, to reporters:

"This is not something that will restrain our response on currencies," saying any Japanese action in currency markets will not be constrained by the United States adding the country to a new monitoring list over foreign exchange policies.

April 19 (U.S. dollar = 109.21 yen)

Aso, to reporters:

"Rapid currency moves, whether up or down, are unwelcome and stable currencies are most desirable...We will take various measures against a rapid yen rise or fall."

April 8 (U.S. dollar = 108.08 yen)

Aso, to reporters:

"Recent forex moves are one-sided....We will take necessary steps against forex moves as needed...Rapid forex moves are undesirable."

April 6 (U.S. dollar = 109.79 yen)

Abe, in a U.S. media interview (WSJ):

"Whatever the circumstances, we must definitely avoid competitive devaluation, and I think we should refrain from arbitrary intervention in currency markets."

Feb. 15 (U.S. dollar = 114.62 yen)

Abe, in parliamentary testimony:

"Excessive currency volatility is undesirable...We will take appropriate action in the foreign exchange rate market as needed...The current forex market is reflecting declines in the U.S. dollar."

Feb. 11 (U.S. dollar = 112.42 yen)

Aso, in a news conference:

"We have agreed at G7 and G20 that sudden foreign exchange moves are undesirable...Recent foreign exchange moves have been very rough. I am very nervously watching these moves and will take appropriate steps as necessary."

"We will continue to closely monitor forex moves."

(He would not comment on whether Japan had recently intervened or not.)

** 2010 **

Sep. 15 (U.S. dollar = 85.71 yen)

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, to reporters:

"We will take decisive steps if necessary, including intervention, while continuing to closely watch currency market moves from now on," Noda said at a news conference where he confirmed that Japan had intervened for the first time in six years.

Sep. 14 (U.S. dollar = 83.09 yen)

Noda, in a news conference:

"We cannot overlook rapid and prolonged yen rises which will hurt the economy and financial system stability."

Sep. 10 (U.S. dollar = 84.15 yen)

Kan, in parliamentary debate:

"Currently the yen is fluctuating rapidly, which could hurt the Japanese economy. As we have been saying, we will take decisive steps if the situation gets more volatile."

Sep. 8 (U.S. dollar = 83.97 yen)

Noda, in parliamentary committee:

"Current foreign exchange moves are clearly one-sided... We will take decisive steps on the yen's rise when needed."

Aug. 31 (U.S. dollar = 84.11 yen)

Noda, in a news conference:

"Current moves in currencies are one-sided. Excessive and disorderly moves in the currency market could badly affect economic and financial stability. From this standpoint, I'll closely watch market moves with great interest and take decisive steps when necessary."

Aug. 27 (U.S. dollar = 85.30 yen)

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, to reporters:

"Excessive currency moves can harm the economy and the financial system... We will take firm measures when needed."

Noda, to reporters:

"We will take appropriate action on currencies when needed."

Aug. 24 (U.S. dollar = 84.06 yen)

Noda, to reporters:

"They (foreign exchange moves) have been one-sided. I will watch currency movements very carefully with great interest. But when necessary we must respond appropriately."

Aug. 11 (U.S. dollar = 85.35 yen)

Noda, to reporters:

"...market moves have become a little one-sided...In any case, excessive and disorderly moves in the currency market would negatively affect the stability of the economy and financial markets. Therefore, I am watching market moves with utmost attention."

Reporting by Noriyuki Hirata; Writing by Lisa Twaronite and Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Kim Coghill

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