Japan finance minister warns against yen's rise

TOKYO, Aug 22, 2011 (AFP) - Japan's finance minister stepped up his rhetoric Monday against the yen's rise, suggesting the government would act to counter speculative moves after the unit hit a post-war high against the dollar Friday.

"I'm worried that recent one-sided yen moves have been strengthening," Yoshihiko Noda said, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

"I will take decisive actions if necessary without excluding any possible measures, while watching even more closely if there are any speculative movements," he told reporters.

The dollar slumped to 75.95 yen in intraday trade Friday, beating its previous post-World War II low of 76.25, which it reached days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.

The dollar however strengthened in early Monday trading to 76.86 yen, compared with 76.50 yen late Friday in New York.

Because a strong yen hurts Japanese exporters, the nation's main economic engine, Japan stepped into the foreign exchange market earlier this month to sell yen and buy dollars and has signalled that it may do so again.

Investors were flocking to the Japanese currency, seen as a safe-haven unit together with the Swiss franc, amid deepening concern over another possible global recession.

Noda added that Japan will stay in close communication with financial authorities in the United States and Europe.

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