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The rapidity of the yen’s appreciation will compel other nations to help Japan weaken the currency from a postwar high that threatens a recovery from its biggest earthquake on record.
Citigroup Inc., Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., and Mizuho Securities Co. are among companies saying that Japan may elicit cooperation from major trading partners in reversing the yen’s climb to 76.36 per dollar today, eclipsing the previous high of 79.75 set in April 1995. The risk of radiation leaks from a crippled nuclear plant stoked prospects Japanese insurers and investors will redeem overseas assets to pay for damages.
Japan’s Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake.
“Although there has been no hint of intervention yet, I still believe the probability of it happening at some point within the next 24 hours is extremely high,” Greg Anderson, a currency strategist at Citigroup in New York, wrote in a note to clients. “It appears almost certain that the G-7 will be in with a coordinated approach.”
Should G-7 nations agree that the yen’s moves are excessively volatile and disorderly, “that may lead to joint intervention by Japan, the U.S. and Europe to sell yen for dollars and euros,” Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Investors, a unit of Japan’s second-largest bank, wrote in a report published today. Analysts at Nomura Holdings Inc. and Barclays Bank Plc were also among those saying intervention was likely.
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