In response to a move by Switzerland on Wednesday to weaken the Swiss franc, Japan found itself forced to intervene on behalf of its own currency on Thursday for the third time in less than a year, selling an unspecified quantity of yen on the market.
The New York Times reported that two strategies were employed in Tokyo’s quest to drive down the value of the yen, which has escalated 4% in the past month alone in response to European and American debt woes. Not only did the government intercede in markets, buying dollars and selling yen, but the Bank of Japan announced an expansion of its program to purchase government and corporate bonds.
Switzerland’s move to weaken its currency, as reported by AdvisorOne, took markets by surprise as the country slashed interest rates, already hovering near zero. The franc too has escalated in value as investors fled the dollar and the euro and sought safe-haven currencies. After Switzerland’s action, the yen rose still higher, and the Japanese government acted swiftly to halt its upward rise. Tokyo is also in talks with other countries about its action.
The yen weakened throughout the day on Thursday, from 77.15 yen to the dollar to about 80 yen by Thursday evening in Japan.