Aso Says Yen Isn’t Weak Compared With Pre-Lehman 108 Per Dollar

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said that the yen isn’t weak compared with the level before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008.

The Japanese currency was at 108 per dollar before Lehman went bankrupt, Aso said at a press briefing yesterday evening in St. Petersburg, Russia, after a Group of 20 nations summit. The yen gained 1 percent to 99.11 per dollar yesterday.

The finance minister reiterated that the Japanese government will decide by early October on whether to press ahead in April with increasing a sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent. That move would shore up the nation’s finances while dealing a blow to consumption and growth, posing a threat to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to drive an economic revival after about 15 years of deflation.

Aso has previously made similar comparisons with pre-Lehman levels for the yen, which strengthened as the global financial crisis deepened. The currency fell more than 20 percent over the past year as Abe pledged stronger monetary easing and the Bank of Japan followed through with unprecedented stimulus.

A government report due on Sept. 9 is estimated by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News to show that gross domestic product rose at an annualized pace of 3.9 percent in the second quarter, higher than an initial assessment of 2.6 percent.

Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, deepening the financial crisis that triggered a global recession.

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