Feb. 20 --Japan posted a trade deficit of 1.63 trillion yen ($17.4 billion) in January, the Ministry of Finance said in Tokyo today. That’s the biggest shortfall on record dating back to 1947. The yen fell against all its major counterparts as investors speculated the nation’s next central bank governor will advocate expanded monetary easing.
Former Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Toshiro Muto may be taken off a list of candidates for BOJ governor, the Yomiuri newspaper reported today. “Muto as the next BOJ governor is seen as a yen-buying catalyst,” said Yuji Saito, the director of foreign-exchange at Credit Agricole SA in Tokyo. “He was seen as most neutral” in terms of monetary policy. Candidates for the next BOJ governor are seen to be Kazumasa Iwata, the president of Japan Center for Economic Research; Kikuo Iwata, an economics professor at Gakushuin University; Haruhiko Kuroda, the Asian Development Bank president; and Takatoshi Ito, an economist at Tokyo University, the Yomiuri reported today without citing anyone.
The yen lost 0.3 percent to 125.64 per euro as of 9:17 a.m. in Tokyo and fell 0.2 percent to 93.74 per dollar. The euro was little changed at 86.86 pence after rising 0.8 percent in the preceding two days. The dollar traded at $1.3405 per euro following a 0.3 percent decline yesterday to $1.3388.