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Japan to agree on currency deal with India

Steve Chiotakis Dec 27, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: Today, there’s a deal that’ll allow Japan and India to swap their currencies for U.S. dollars, making it easier for those countries to do business with one another — and also a way for Japan to settle the yen’s increased volatility.

Jake Schlesinger is the Wall Street Journal’s Tokyo bureau chief, and he’s with us now from Japan. Hey Jake.

Jake Schlesinger: Hey.

Chiotakis: So tell us a little bit about this currency deal between India and Japan.

Schlesinger: Yeah, it’s interesting. This is the second — or actually the third — big currency deal that Japan is signing with another Asian country in the last couple of months. They signed one with Korea in October; they did one with China just over the weekend; and now, this week, Prime Minister Noda will do the same with India.

But they’re actually kind of different. The ones with Korea and India are really emergency back up swap lines that are designed to create a sense of stability and a feeling of back up to markets worried about volatility. The one with China is actually about trying to deepen the market for Chinese currencies.

Chiotakis: All right, so, stability — but is there something bigger going on here in Japan?

Schlesinger: You know, I think it has more to do with the fact that, in an odd way, Japan is back. Meaning, Japan was written off as largely irrelevant, increasingly irrelevant, to the global and Asian economies, overshadowed by faster-growing countries like China, India and Korea.

I think that people have come to realize that Japan still does have a very important role to play even though it’s been eclipsed by China. It still has the largest, deepest, most mature financial markets. And that it plays a very important role in trying to make sure there’s stability amid a lot of craziness in financial markets.

Chiotakis: Jake Schlesinger with the Wall Street Journal. Jake, thanks.

Schlesinger: Sure.

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