TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar fell to another record low against the Japanese yen today as the market anticipated pressure from Japan’s big trade surplus would push the yen higher. Tokyo share prices edged up.
The dollar closed at 103.37 yen, down 0.40 yen from Wednesday’s close of 103.77 yen and its lowest Tokyo finish since modern exchange rates were set in the late 1940s.
After its overnight finish in New York at 103.63 yen, it opened in Tokyo at 103.50 yen and ranged between 103.50 yen and 103.75 yen.
The dollar now has fallen 22.50 yen, or 17.9 percent, since Jan. 13, when it closed at 125.87 yen, the highest level this year.
Trading was largely speculative, said Ryoko Kawashima, a Citibank dealer.
Market participants initially bought the dollar after its overnight slip overseas, but then it plunged, he said.
The dollar’s weakness resulted in part from renewed concerns that Japan’s massive trade surplus would keep the yen strong, dealers said. U.S. officials have favored a higher yen in hopes that it would help reduce the surplus by making Japanese goods more expensive abroad and foreign products cheaper in Japan.
On Wednesday, Japan announced a 28 percent jump in its global trade surplus in July, the 31st consecutive month of expansion from year-earlier levels.
The global surplus was $11.82 billion in July. Japan’s surplus with the United States was $4.68 billion, up 23 percent from a year earlier.
New Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, worried about the yen’s surge, told reporters tosday that coordinated exchange market intervention among countries might be necessary. He did not elaborate.
Japanese officials have said the nation’s economic recovery could suffer if the yen climbs too fast.
Today’s spot trading totaled $7.199 billion, down from Wednesday’s $7.772 billion.
On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 32.71 points, or 0.16 percent, closing at 20,765.28. On Wednesday, it gained 238.82 points, or 1.17 percent, to 20,732.57.
The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section rose 5.95 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,686.18. It added 19.01 points, or 1.13 percent, to 1,680.23 on Wednesday.
An estimated 500 million shares changed hands on the first section, up from Wednesday’s 380 million. Gainers outnumbered losers 665 to 314, with 183 issues unchanged.
Prices rose as the yen’s rise and a decline in bond yields reinforced expectations that the Bank of Japan may cut its key lending rate, traders said.
The yield on the benchmark No. 145 10-year Japanese government bond closed at 3.995 percent, down 0.070 percentage points from Wednesday. Its price closed at 109.46 yen, up 0.35 yen.