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The Bank of Japan is trying to contain the bond crisis despite upward pressure

The yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds fell slightly from the 10-year on Tuesday after a strong bid and the Bank of Japan pledged to buy bonds in the next session.

However, global yields are still rising, and the 10-year swap rate has hit a record high, indicating strong upward pressure on Japanese government bond yields.

The yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds fell a basis point to 0.760 percent — its highest level since September 2013 — in the session, after reaching 0.780 percent.

“The Bank of Japan is trying to contain high yields with emergency bond purchases, but there are still upward pressures,” said Takeshi Ishida, strategist at Resona Holdings. He added: “The issue now is when the Bank of Japan will adjust its policy, not whether or not it will.”

The 10-year interest rate swap rose to 0.9875 percent on Tuesday. The Bank of Japan said on Monday it would hold an unscheduled bond purchase on Wednesday and another on Friday after yields hit multi-year highs.

The order in the government bond auction was 3.93 times lower than the 4.02 times it was sold in last month’s auction. But the gap between the low and the average narrowed to 0.02 yen from 0.10 yen previously, indicating strong demand.

Keisuke Tsuruta, fixed income strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, said the decision was supported by the Bank of Japan’s bond purchases. He added: “Although the Bank of Japan has widened the trading range for 10-year bond yields to give the market more flexibility, yield levels and auction results are determined by what the bank does.”

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Bids for the 10-year bond saw weak demand in the previous two months as investors were wary of buying bonds amid growing speculation that the Bank of Japan would adjust its ultra-low interest rate policy.

On the other hand, Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Tuesday that any decision on currency market intervention would depend on volatility and not a specific level of the yen, with investors bracing for a possible move if the yen crosses the 150 yen level. against the dollar.

Suzuki said authorities were closely monitoring the currency market and were ready to respond, reiterating his warning against speculative activity as the yen nears the 150-yen level against the dollar in a year.

“Currency levels won’t be a deciding factor” on intervention, Suzuki said, “it’s volatility that matters.”

The foreign exchange market showed little reaction to Suzuki’s comments, although traders were watching to see what action Japanese authorities will take as the year approaches levels that prompted intervention a year ago. Speaking at a press conference, Suzuki added that “authorities are closely monitoring market movements… It is important that currencies move stably to reflect economic fundamentals.” “We will be fully prepared to respond.”

A weaker yen pushes up prices by raising import costs, while other factors, including the war in Ukraine and production cuts by oil-producing nations, are also weighing on cost-driven inflation, Suzuki said.

As for newly issued 10-year government bonds, which yielded 0.8 percent, the highest level in a decade, Suzuki said long-term interest rates are determined by the market, reflecting various factors.

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In general, higher long-term interest rates lead to higher borrowing costs, so officials are closely monitoring the impact of movements in long-term interest rates and how they may affect households and businesses, Suzuki said.

In a separate matter, the heads of finance authorities in South Korea and Japan agreed on Tuesday to resume periodic “spacecraft meetings” as part of their efforts to boost financial cooperation between the two countries, South Korean officials said.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency made the announcement in a joint statement after a meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday by Kim Joo-hyun, head of the Financial Services Commission in Seoul, and Teruhisa Kurita, commissioner of the Financial Services Agency in Tokyo.

The two groups will resume their regular meeting in Seoul on December 19-20 for the first time since 2016. During a meeting of the Korean and Japanese delegations on Tuesday, Kim and Kurita also agreed to exchange their experiences and ideas. Financial services of general importance, such as climate change and digitization.

Kim and Kurita discussed potential areas for deepening cooperation between the two groups to safeguard Korean-Japanese financial stability and strengthen the two countries’ financial markets.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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