Japan's foreign exchange reserves rose for the second straight month to USD 1.254 trillion at the end of August, up USD 171 million from the previous month, the Finance Ministry said Friday.
The foreign reserves remained the world's second-largest after China's. The increase was attributed to valuation gains in the government's holdings of the US Treasury and other bonds, the ministry said. A rise in gold prices also helped inflate 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 August 31, foreign currency reserves stood at USD 1.186 trillion, IMF reserves at USD 13.
99 billion, IMF special drawing rights at USD 19.64 billion and gold at USD 34.
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 90.9 billion) in the final quarter of 2011, including the biggest ever single-day intervention at around JPY 7.5 trillion (USD 75.0 billion) on Oct. 31, when the Japanese currency hit a postwar high of JPY 75.32 against dollar.
Japan is the only country with foreign reserves of more than USD 1 trillion besides China, whose holdings hit a record of USD 3.50 trillion at the end of June, according to the latest comparable data.