Yen dips as Japan officials warn over unit’s strength

A pedestrian walks past the window of a securities company displaying the current spot rate chart (L) and one-year chart (R) of the yen against the US dollar, in Tokyo on September 23, 2016. Tokyo shares opened lower on September 23 as the yen jumped against the dollar after the Fed decided to keep interest rates unchanged, putting pressure on the US currency. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

A pedestrian walks past the window of a securities company displaying the current spot rate chart (L) and one-year chart (R) of the yen against the US dollar, in Tokyo on September 23, 2016.<br />Tokyo shares opened lower on September 23 as the yen jumped against the dollar after the Fed decided to keep interest rates unchanged, putting pressure on the US currency. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

The yen retreated Friday as Japanese officials repeated warnings they could step into currency markets to tame the soaring unit, which threatens profits at the country’s exporters.

Traders piled into the yen against the dollar after the Fed on Wednesday kept interest rates ultra-low, saying it needed to see a stronger economy before tightening monetary policy.

Japan’s top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, on Friday said the government was “concerned” by the stronger yen, telling reporters: “We will take necessary steps if these sort of moves continue.”

That followed similar comments from a finance ministry official who hinted at the possibility of a market intervention to weaken the currency.

A stronger yen hurts profits at Japanese firms that do business abroad.

It was the latest in a string of comments from Tokyo aimed at pushing down the yen, which has soared since the start of the year as volatility on financial markets and worries about global growth boost demand for the safe-haven unit.

In Tokyo on Friday, the dollar was changing hands at 101.18 yen, up from 100.77 yen in New York late Thursday. But it is still down from levels above 102 yen before the Fed decision and soon after the Bank of Japan unveiled an overhaul of its monetary policy to kickstart inflation.

The euro rose to 113.21 yen from 112.94 yen while it bought $1.1201 against $1.1208.

The greenback rose against other Asia-Pacific currencies, jumping 0.3 percent against the Australian dollar and 0.2 percent on the South Korean won. It was also up 0.3 percent versus the Indonesian rupiah.

The Malaysian ringgit, Singapore dollar and Philippine peso also retreated.

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