Home Forex News Yen slightly higher after suspected intervention

Yen slightly higher after suspected intervention


By Karen Brettell

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The yen was slightly stronger on the day on Thursday after a sudden rally late on Wednesday that traders an analysts attributed to intervention by Japanese authorities, while the dollar was also broadly higher.

The sharp move in the yen on Wednesday came in a quiet period for markets after Wall Street had closed, and hours after the U.S. Federal Reserve had wrapped up its policy meeting.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell confirmed the central bank’s expectation to cut rates, but acknowledged such a move would come later than expected due to stubbornly high inflation.

The dollar eased, however, due to the Fed not adopting a more hawkish tone that included the potential for further rate hikes.

The timing of the intervention was “pragmatic,” as “volumes were light, liquidity was thin, and it’s easier to make an impact at that time,” said Brad Bechtel, global head of FX at Jefferies in New York.

The dollar was last down 0.04% on the day at 154.41 yen.

Japan’s vice finance minister for international affairs, Masato Kanda, who oversees currency policy at the Ministry of Finance, told Reuters he had no comment on whether Japan had intervened in the market.

Wednesday’s volatility came after a similar move on Monday, which was also during a time of light trading.

“Clearly they want to make as much as an impact and do it as efficiently as possible,” said Bechtel.

The Bank of Japan’s official data indicated Japan may have spent 3.66 trillion yen ($23.59 billion) on Wednesday and 5.5 trillion yen ($35.06 billion) supporting the currency on Monday to pull it back from new 34-year lows.

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The dollar remains up more than 10% against the yen this year, as traders push back expectations on the timing of a first Fed rate cut, while the Bank of Japan has signaled it will go slow with further policy tightening after raising rates in March for the first time since 2007.

However, while the supposed interventions may buy Japan some time, the trend is likely to remain negative for the Japanese currency until the U.S. economy slows and as long as the BOJ remains on hold.

“I don’t think intervention alone can cap dollar-yen,” said Niels Christensen, chief analyst at Nordea. “The Bank of Japan continues to be reluctant to move the key rate higher, which is one reason why I expect the market to test the upside in dollar-yen.”

The next major U.S. economic focus that could drive further moves in dollar/yen will be Friday’s jobs report for April, which is expected to show that employers added 243,000 jobs during the month.

The dollar index gained 0.06% to 105.77, while the euro dipped 0.21% to $1.0687.

The dollar weakened 0.31% to 0.913 Swiss francs after Swiss annual inflation in April accelerated faster than expected.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin gained 2.37% to $58,637.40.

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