Yen rises buoyed by Japan currency intervention for first time since 1998

The Japanese yen heightened on Thursday after authorities intervened in the foreign exchange market to shore up the battered currency for the first time since 1998, although trading was choppy.

The dollar was inched down 2 percent at 141.2 yen. It lowered of 140.31 after the intervention, having earlier reached a fresh 24-year peak of 145.9 yen.

Since June 2016, the spread between the day’s high and low for the pair was the widest.

The euro, Australian dollar and pound also dipped toward the Japanese currency, before regaining a little ground.

“We have taken decisive action,” vice finance minister for international affairs Masato Kanda said to reporters. He was responding in the affirmative when asked if that meant intervention.

Confirmation of the intervention came just hours after the BOJ decided to sustain low interest rates to help the country’s fragile economic recovery.

The central bank could hold off on hiking rates or changing its dovish policy guidance for years, according to a statement of BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda to reporters.

Meanwhile, central banks around the world, most notably the U.S. Federal Reserve, are raising rates aggressively and the policy divergence has weighed on the yen.

“Unless there is a clear shift in the fundamental backdrop driving Japanese yen weaker, the ability to turn the trend is limited,” head of global markets research at MUFG Derek Halpenny stated.

“The Ministry of Finance may see this as buying some time and hope that the Fed completes its tightening cycle by year-end, which may help to bring some degree of turn in the trend.”

Even after Thursday’s moves, the dollar is still up 23.4 percent compared with the yen this year.

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