Japan’s Yen Intervention is a Rear-Guard Action

Japan’s intervention may not prop up its currency for long.

The Japanese yen jumped 1.4% against the dollar Thursday after the government confirmed that it bought the currency in the foreign-exchange market for the first time since the Asian financial crisis in 1998. It has intervened many times since to sell yen—but with oil prices still high and the currency now trading at 143 yen to the dollar, near its weakest in decades, the bank apparently felt it needed to send a shot across bearish traders’ bows.

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