Japan Finance Minister says no change in FX policy after US report

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan’s currency policy won’t immediately change after the United States removed the country from its monitoring list, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Tuesday, noting that the move came in coordination with Washington.

“As for currency policy, we’ll keep close communications with the United States and other countries,” Suzuki told reporters. “The fact that Japan was removed from the list doesn’t immediately mean that we would respond in a different way from before or there’s any impact.”

The U.S. Treasury on Friday said it found that no major U.S. trading partners had manipulated their currencies for an export advantage, adding it ended “enhanced analysis” for Switzerland after the country met one of three manipulation criteria.

In its semi-annual currency report, the Treasury said Switzerland remains on a “monitoring list” for close attention to foreign exchange and economic policies, along with six other trading partners: China, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore.

The report covers foreign exchange activity for the four quarters ended December 31, 2022. A Treasury official said that Japan was dropped from the monitoring list because it only met one of the three criteria for two monitoring periods in a row.

Japan last intervened in the market in October 2022 to stem the yen’s descent against the dollar to a 32-year low near 152 yen to cushion a blow from surging import costs to households.

On Tuesday, the dollar hit 142.26 yen in early Asia trade, its highest since November, following the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) decision on Friday to keep its easing policy.

“Currency levels such as the dollar/yen should be determined by markets based on fundamentals and stable moves are desirable,” Suzuki said. “We will continue to closely watch daily currency moves.”

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Kim Coghill and Gerry Doyle)