Japan’s finance minister: Watching currency moves carefully

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Friday the government was watching currency moves carefully, when asked about the yen’s recent fast-pitched declines.

“It’s important for currency rates to move stably reflecting fundamentals,” Suzuki told a regular news conference.

The dollar has risen nearly 5% against the yen this year on receding market expectations that the Bank of Japan (BOJ) will soon pull interest rates out of negative territory. The Japanese currency stood at 148.12 to the dollar on Friday.

“We hope the BOJ, working closely with the government, conducts appropriate monetary policy to sustainably and stably achieve its inflation target,” Suzuki said, when asked whether the government had any hopes about how soon the central bank would end negative interest rates.

The BOJ is widely expected to keep ultra-loose monetary policy intact at its meeting next week.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Sonali Paul)