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Japan confirms record interventions to support yen

FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo of a Japan Yen note

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan confirmed on Tuesday that it made record interventions in the foreign exchange market in October, selling the dollar worth 6.35 trillion yen ($48 billion) to support the yen currency, Ministry of Finance (MOF) data showed.

The quarterly data showed a steep drop in the yen to a 32-year low of 151.94 to the dollar on Oct. 21 triggered the intervention that day, followed by another on Oct. 24.

"The interventions were aimed at countering excessive currency moves driven by speculative trading, and they had certain effects," Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki told reporters. "We'll continue to monitor market moves carefully."

Suzuki said it was important for currencies to move stably reflecting economic fundamentals, and that future interventions were not entirely ruled out.

The stealth interventions, or making a foray in the market without announcing it, came after Tokyo intervened to buy the yen for dollars for the first time in 24 years on Sept. 22.

Japan spent a record 5.62 trillion yen ($42.5 billion) on a single day yen-buying intervention on Oct. 21 and further 730 billion yen on Oct. 24, having spent 2.84 trillion yen on Sept. 22 to stem the yen's sharp fall, which boosted living costs for resource-deficiant Japan.

The dollar has pulled back to move in a range around 130 yen since then, while stoking some concerns about renewed yen rises, which could hamper Japanese exports of cars and electronics.

It was rare for Japan to conduct yen-buying, dollar-selling interventions given the country's past battle with a strong yen making Japanese goods less competitive overseas.

Japan publishes monthly intervention records at the end of each month, and it issues daily results for the prior quarter.

Separate MOF data on Tuesday showed Japan's foreign reserves rose for the third straight month to $1.25 trillion at the end of January, boosted by interest payments on foreign bonds, waning interest rates, softening of dollar and gains in gold.

($1 = 132.3600 yen)

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Stephen Coates)