Japan’s top currency official rejects Trump devaluation claims

(L to R) Japanese Vice Finance Minister Masatsugu Asakawa, Finance Minister Taro Aso, and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda take questions from reporters at the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank Group in Washington

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s top currency official said on Wednesday that foreign-exchange rates were decided by markets and were not being manipulated, after U.S. President Donald Trump took aim at the currency policies of Japan and other trading partners.

“As Bank of Japan Governor (Haruhiko) Kuroda has said repeatedly, Japan’s monetary policy aims to achieve the domestic purpose of ending deflation. It’s not aimed at (affecting) currency rates,” Masatsugu Asakawa, vice finance minister for international affairs, told reporters.

Asakawa said he could not comment on Trump’s currency policy as his intentions were not necessarily clear. “If (the president) is talking about currency intervention, Japan hasn’t done any lately,” he added.

The dollar was put on the defensive after Trump and trade adviser Peter Navarro criticized China, Germany and Japan, saying they were devaluing their currencies to the disadvantage of the United States.

The dollar slid briefly fell to 112.08 yen, well short of Monday’s 115.01 peak, keeping Japanese policymakers on edge over the pain a yen rebound could inflict on Japan’s export-reliant economy.

(Reporting by Takashi Umekawa and Leika Kihara; Writing by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Eric Meijer)