Japan's foreign exchange reserves grew for the third straight month to USD 1.284 trillion at the end of June, up USD 1 million from the previous month, the Finance Ministry said Monday.
The foreign reserves remained the world's second-largest after China's. The increase was attributed to a rise in interest income from Japanese government-held bonds and higher gold prices, the ministry said. But the declining market value of Japanese government-held bonds such as US Treasuries, which were affected by higher long-term interest rates, deflated Japan's reserves.
Japan's foreign exchange reserves consist of securities and deposits denominated in foreign currencies plus the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reserve positions, IMF special drawing rights and gold.
As of June 30, foreign currency reserves stood at USD 1.216 trillion, IMF reserves at USD 14.90 billion, IMF special drawing rights at USD 20.16 billion and gold at USD 32.35 billion.
Japan's reserves are closely monitored for evidence of how authorities are managing vast foreign currency holdings, as the actions have significant impact on currency exchange rates and global bond markets, particularly in the US government bond market. The authorities did not intervene in currency markets to stem the yen's rise after spending JPY 9.09 trillion (USD 89.0 billion) in the final quarter of 2011. Japan is the only country with foreign reserves of more than USD 1 trillion besides China, whose holdings hit a record of USD 3.95 trillion at the end of March, according to the latest comparable data.