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Wed, Aug 22, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Japan, Australia central banks inject more funds

LIQUIDITY Despite the rise in global stock markets after the US Fed cut its discount rate on Friday, Australia and Japan pumped in more money to quell investor worries

AP , TOKYO

Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic stock price board at the window of a securities company in Tokyo yesterday. Japanese share prices closed 1.07 percent higher yesterday, as fears of a credit squeeze shaking the global economy receded, dealers said.

PHOTO: AFP

Japan's and Australia's central banks injected more funds into money markets yesterday, continuing a string of such injections meant to ensure market liquidity and calm investors' fears in the wake of the US subprime mortgage crisis.

The Japanese central bank pumped ¥800 billion (US$7 billion) into money markets yesterday in its ongoing effort to curb rises in key interest rates in the face of US credit concerns. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) injected ¥1 trillion on Monday.

Major central banks, including the BOJ, as well as the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, have already poured billions of dollars into the markets in recent weeks because of concerns about the possible impact of the US subprime mortgage woes' on the global economy.

The Japanese finance minister said he spoke by telephone with US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to work together closely to monitor the recent financial market turmoil.

"We've agreed that we will exchange opinions on a frequent basis, such as through telephone calls, and will closely monitor market conditions," Finance Minister Koji Omi told reporters.

The Reserve Bank of Australia also said it had injected A$3.57 billion (US$4.4 billion) yesterday through the purchase of mostly short-term securities, following a similar action on Monday.

The US Federal Reserve on Friday cut its key discount rate by half a percentage point to 5.75 percent to quell investor worries, though the action is considered a temporary remedy.

Global stock markets have mostly climbed since the rate cut, although after sharp gains on Friday in the US and Europe and on Monday in Asia, the pace has slowed.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.32 percent on Monday in the US, after posting an 1.8 percent gain on Friday.

The Nikkei 225 benchmark stock index rose 168.86 points, or 1.07 percent, to close at 15,901.34 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday. The index surged 458.8 points, or 3 percent, on Monday, posting the largest one-day point gain since June 22 last year.

Before the subprime mortgage crisis surfaced, analysts had expected the Bank of Japan to raise interest rates when it meets later this week. However, such expectations have dwindled at a time when financial authorities around the world are trying to work together to calm investors' jitters.

Omi urged the central bank to look at "the overall situation" before making a decision at the two-day monetary policy meeting scheduled to end tomorrow in what appears to be a signal from the government against a premature hike.

"I think it will make an appropriate judgment while looking at the overall situation," Omi said.

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