Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Money for Nothing

It is so weird to live in an America-centric world.

In April, the MOF made $8.2 billion by adhering to a focused and concerted program of doing absolutely nothing.

Japan's foreign reserves hit new record in April

TOKYO, May 10 - Japan's official reserves hit a record high in April as a rise in the euro raised the dollar value of euro assets, Ministry of Finance data showed on Wednesday.

The reserves rose to $860.242 billion at the end of April, up from the previous peak of $852.030 billion set a month earlier.

Japan's foreign reserves hover around the world's largest levels, though China's rapidly growing pool took the number one spot in February.

China's central bank said last month that its foreign reserves rose to a record $875.1 billion at the end of March. It has not yet unveiled the April figure.

China's foreign reserves have ballooned in recent years as it fights persistent upward pressure on the yuan currency under its managed float regime.

In contrast, Japan's foreign reserves have held steady around record levels since March 2004, the last time Japan bought dollars to help stem a rise in the yen, seen as helping to protect a fragile export-led economic recovery.

Yes, the stated value of Japan's reserves rose to a new record height--yet Japan has not bought a dime of U.S. assets in two years.

As the real value of the hundreds of billions of dollars in Japan's reserves sank, the nominal value of all the billions of euros, British pounds and Swiss francs in Japan's reserves rose. Measured in dollars--because that is the currency the world's hard currency reserves are measured in--Japan's reserves rose.

So the weaker the dollar gets...the greater the value of Japan's mostly dollar-denominated foreign currency reserves.

Like I said, it is weird living in an America-centric world.

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