US Dollar Jumps as Japan Intervenes To Pull Yen Back From Record Levels

Japan’s new finance minister, Jun Azumi, carried through on his threat to intervene in currency markets to reverse a strengthening of the yen that has hurt the country’s vital export sector.

The yen weakened sharply to 78.30 to the dollar Monday morning in Tokyo, retreating from a post-World War II record of 75.31 yen touched in early trading. Azumi confirmed that the Japanese government had sold yen for greenbacks, and would continue doing so until it was “satisfied,” according to Kyodo News.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 average rose through the 9,100 level for the first time since Aug. 16.

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Japan’s Strong Yen and What it Means for its Businesses

Business sentiment in Japan has fallen for the first time in seven quarters as worries about a persistently strong yen and slowing exports hit corporate confidence.The Bank of Japans quarterly "tankan" survey of business sentiment released Wednesday showed that the main index for large manufacturers fell to 5 in December from 8 three months ago.The figure represents the percentage of companies saying business conditions are good minus those saying conditions are unfavorable, with 100 representing the best mood and minus 100 the worst.The result from the latest tankan — a closely watched barometer of the countrys economic health that helps the central bank guide monetary policy — is slightly better than Kyodo news agencys average market forecast for a reading of 3.The index had climbed for six straight quarters as Japan mounted a solid recovery from deep recession. But a strong yen and easing global demand are battering exporters, which have been the main drivers of Japans growth. Automakers like Toyota Motor Corp. are also feeling the impact from the expiration of government subsidies for fuel efficient cars.

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