Foreign currency reserves hit $305.5 billion record high

Japan’s foreign currency reserves hit a record $305.51 billion at the end of March, exceeding $300 billion for the first time, the Finance Ministry said Monday.

The March figure was up $11.05 billion from a month earlier, partly because of dollar-buying currency market interventions on March 8 and March 15, a ministry official said.

It was the fourth straight month in which the nation’s foreign currency reserves — convertible currencies, gold and International Monetary Fund special drawing rights — have jumped to a new record.

The euro’s weakening against the dollar was a negative factor for the value of Japan’s euro-denominated assets when converted into dollar terms, the official said.

Based on statistics available by the end of January, Japan had the largest foreign reserve of any nation or autonomous economy for the fourth consecutive month, with $293.2 billion.

The euro zone, which comprises 11 of the European Union’s 15 member states, ranked second with $269.4 billion at the end of January.

The other top five positions were occupied by Chinese: China with $158.3 billion in reserves at the end of December, Taiwan with $103.3 billion at the end of October and Hong Kong with $96.2 billion at the end of December.

The United States came eighth with $73.8 billion at the end of November.