Japan's Foreign Reserves Drop by $14B

Japan's Foreign Reserves Drop by $14B

Takashi Suzuki
2 min read

Japan's Foreign Currency Reserves Decline by $14 Billion in April

Japan's foreign currency reserves saw a significant drop of $14 billion in April, reaching $1.14 trillion, as reported by the finance ministry. This reduction is primarily attributed to the decline in holdings of foreign securities, such as Treasuries, which went down from $995 billion to $978 billion. Recent evidence also suggests that Japan intervened in the currency market twice to support the yen, raising speculation and uncertainty. Despite this, Japanese officials, including Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki and currency chief Masato Kanda, have neither confirmed nor denied these actions, maintaining a strategy of secrecy. Economists now look to the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) current account data for estimating intervention sizes.

Key Takeaways

  • Japan's foreign currency reserves dropped by $14 billion in April due to a decline in the value of foreign securities holdings.
  • Japan is suspected to have intervened in the currency market twice in late April to prop up the yen.
  • Bloomberg's analysis suggests Japan bought roughly $40 billion of yen in the first move and $3.2 trillion in the second.
  • Japanese officials have been concealing their intervention actions, making investors guess about the market moves.
  • The BOJ’s current account data has become more useful for estimating the size of intervention than analyzing the reserves.


The unexpected intervention strategy by Japanese officials, potentially impacting investor confidence and destabilizing currency markets, has led to the decline in Japan's foreign currency reserves. As official confirmations remain elusive, economists now rely on the BOJ's current account data to estimate intervention sizes. This covert intervention may lead to valuation adjustments and increased market volatility for entities holding significant yen or Japanese securities. In the long term, this situation could either prompt more transparent intervention policies or hinder Japan's ability to stabilize its currency during market stress.

Did You Know?

  • Foreign Currency Reserves: These are foreign currencies or assets, such as bonds, stocks, or gold, accumulated primarily by central banks to maintain the value of their domestic currency, manage exchange rates, and ensure liquidity in international markets.
  • Currency Intervention: This is when a country's central bank buys or sells its own currency in the foreign exchange market to influence its value.
  • BOJ's Current Account Data: It represents the net earnings from Japan's trade with other countries, providing insights into the size of intervention in the context of currency intervention.

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