Japan ready to intervene again on strong yen

TOKYO — Japan on Friday voiced concern over the rise of the yen to fresh 15-year highs against the dollar and signalled it was ready to wade back into markets to intervene amid fears of a global devaluation battle.

“I am very concerned about the current situation,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told parliament when asked about the yen’s strength, which puts Japan’s growth-driving exporters at a disadvantage by making their products more expensive overseas.

“We will take decisive steps when necessary, from the perspective of curbing excessive fluctuations in exchange rates,” Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a regular press conference.

Amid expectations the US Federal Reserve will adopt further easing measures to pump more liquidity into the world’s largest economy and further weaken the dollar, the unit Thursday plunged to fresh 15-year lows against the yen.

A surprise policy tightening move by Singaporean authorities to widen the trading band of its currency on Thursday also added to pressure on the greenback and pushed the Singaporean unit to record highs.

On Friday the dollar stood at 81.42 yen, little changed from 81.44 in New York Thursday, after the unit earlier plunged to a 15-year low of 80.89 yen.

 

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Starbucks to hike prices on ‘labor intensive’ drinks

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Starbucks drinks, long considered symbols of Americans’ penchant to overspend, are about to get even pricier.

The coffee giant said late Wednesday that it will raise the price of “labor-intensive and larger-sized” beverages because of soaring prices of green arabica coffee beans.

Starbucks (SBUXFortune 500) said green coffee prices are close to a 13-year high, and costs for its other raw ingredients, including dairy, sugar and cocoa, have been volatile.

As CNNMoney reported earlier this month, coffee futures have climbed more than 40% since June.

“[This has] completely altered the economic and financial picture of many players in the coffee industry,” Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said in a written statement. “We have thus far chosen to absorb the price increases ourselves and not pass them on to our customers. But the extreme nature of the cost increases has made it untenable for us to continue to do so.”