Yen’s slide continues as dollar tops ¥146 for 1st time in 24 yrs

A monitor shows the Japanese yen exchange rate against the U.S. dollar inside the dealing room at the foreign exchange trading company in Tokyo on Wednesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The dollar strengthened to top ¥146 for the first time since August 1998 in Tokyo trading Wednesday.

Aided by buying backed by strong expectations that the U.S.-Japan interest rate gap will widen further, the greenback surpassed its recent high marked on Sept. 22, when Japanese authorities carried out its first yen-buying, dollar-selling market intervention in some 24 years.

While the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to continue raising interest rates aggressively, the Bank of Japan has been sticking to its massive monetary easing policy, which keeps Japanese long-term interest rates low. The BOJ is trying to cap the yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond issue at 0.25%.

At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥146.16-18, up from ¥145.63-63 at the same time Tuesday. The euro was at $0.9705-9709, up from $0.9698-9699, and at ¥141.89-89, up from ¥141.24-25.

After moving above ¥145.90 in the early morning, the dollar rose past ¥146.20, aided by speculative purchases apparently by U.S. shorter-term players and stop-loss buy orders.

After the initial wave of buying subsided, the dollar met with profit-taking.

The greenback, however, went up again and rose close to ¥146.40 in late morning trading, partly thanks to buying by Japanese importers.

The U.S. currency lost some steam in the afternoon, but its downside was firm above ¥146.

With the dollar topping ¥146, caution is growing over the possibility of Japanese authorities intervening in the market again to buy yen for dollars. On Sept. 22, Japan sold the dollar in the market at levels around ¥145.90.