G-7 notes “increased volatility” in currencies, to monitor it closely

Finance chiefs of the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Wednesday acknowledged “increased volatility” in many currencies and the need to keep an eye on the markets, as the U.S. dollar rapidly strengthens on the back of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes aimed at curbing inflation.

The meeting of the finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-7 preceded a gathering of the Group of 20 major economies, which is also expected to examine the impact of monetary tightening on the world economy during a two-day meeting through Thursday.

While maintaining that the G-7 central banks are “strongly committed” to achieving price stability, the finance chiefs of the United States, Japan and other members said after their meeting in Washington that they will also be “mindful” to limit the impact on economic activity and spillovers stemming from the banks’ actions.

Central banks are “closely monitoring the impact of price pressures on inflation expectations and will continue to appropriately calibrate the pace of monetary policy tightening in a data-dependent and clearly communicated manner,” according to a joint statement.

Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki told reporters later Wednesday that he conveyed during the G-7 and G-20 meetings his strong concerns over the rapidly increasing volatility in currency moves.

He also said he explained to his counterparts that Japanese authorities intervened in the foreign exchange market by buying the yen in September, the first such intervention in 24 years.

The G-7 and G-20 meetings took place amid concerns over the slowdown in global growth, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and coronavirus pandemic-related disruptions keeping energy and food prices elevated.

The strengthening dollar has added to the woes of poorer countries, as it increases the cost of imported goods and the size of dollar-denominated debts. It has also created headaches for advanced economies such as resource-poor Japan, which largely relies on energy imports.

The yen has continued to slide on the widening divergence in monetary policy between the Fed and the dovish Bank of Japan.

“Recognizing that many currencies have moved significantly this year with increased volatility, we reaffirm our exchange rate commitments as elaborated in May 2017,” the G-7 finance ministers and central bank governors said in their statement.

In the 2017 meeting in Italy, the G-7 members committed to “market determined exchange rates” and stated that “excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability.”

According to an International Monetary Fund report released Tuesday, in 2022, the dollar has already appreciated by about 15 percent against the euro, over 10 percent against the renminbi, 25 percent against the yen, and 20 percent against sterling.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the G-7 countries also reaffirmed their resolve to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes” as the Eastern European country defends itself against Moscow’s aggression and committed to supporting Kyiv’s urgent short-term financing needs.

The countries will fully implement their economic sanctions imposed on Russia, while remaining vigilant against sanctions evasion and “backfilling,” according to the statement.

They affirmed their progress toward a plan to set a cap on Russian oil prices, which is intended to squeeze Moscow’s revenues for its war in Ukraine while preventing global energy prices from surging by keeping crude flowing.

They also said they welcome Australia’s joining the price cap coalition.

The G-20 groups the G-7 members — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union — as well as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey.

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