Dollar touches ¥144 for 1st time in 24 yrs

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A person passes by a stock market display in Tokyo on Wednesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The dollar touched ¥144 for the first time in 24 years in Tokyo trading Wednesday afternoon, propelled by renewed expectations for a wider interest rate gap between Japan and the United States.

At 1 p.m., the dollar was quoted at ¥143.99-144.00, up from ¥141.55-56 at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The U.S. currency remained strong after topping ¥143 in New York on Tuesday as a stronger-than-expected outcome of the U.S. Institute for Supply Management’s services sector index for August fueled expectations that the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening policy will be maintained.

The data helped reinforced speculation that the Japan-U.S. interest rate gap will expand further as the Bank of Japan is unlikely to change its ultraeasy monetary policy anytime soon.

Speculative selling of yen for dollars intensified in Tokyo from early Wednesday morning, spurred by higher U.S. long-term interest rates in off-hours trading.

“Speculators are increasingly active, accelerating the pace of the yen’s downward march,” said an official of a Japanese brokerage house.