Toyota chief content with yen’s current rate

The yen’s recent surge against the dollar is still in the acceptable range, Hiroshi Okuda, president of Toyota Motor Corp. said May 20.

He restated his position that a reasonable rate would be between 110 yen and 120 yen against the dollar, and the current level is still in that range. Okuda also said the economy has begun to recover steadily and the negative impact of the consumption tax hike on the auto market already seems to have subsided.

The amount of orders that Toyota has received declined about 20 percent between mid-March and April, but May has seen a recovery to the same level as last year, he said. On the recent rise in the nation’s trade surplus, Okuda said he is not worried that trade friction with the United States will flare up again.

According to the Finance Ministry, the trade surplus with the U.S. soared 174.1 percent in April on a year-on-year basis, the seventh straight month of increase and the largest growth since January 1982. The surplus was mainly blamed on increased exports of automobiles and office equipment. While admitting that auto exports may be one factor for the surplus, he said that each automaker’s planned exports to the U.S. for this year remain either at the same level as last year or show only a slight increase.