Japan’s foreign exchange reserves grew to a record $341.14 billion at the end of May from the previous month, topping the old record of $338.58 billion set in April, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
The reserves — securities and deposits denominated in foreign currencies, International Monetary Fund reserve positions, IMF special drawing rights and gold — have thus hit a record high six months in a row.
At the end of May, Japan had $255.9 billion in foreign securities and $70.79 billion in foreign currency deposits.
Of the deposits, $6.4 billion were in foreign central banks and the Bank for International Settlements, $43.62 billion were in Japanese banks and $20.78 billion were in foreign banks.
Japan also possessed $5.35 billion in IMF reserve positions, $2.5 billion in IMF SDRs and $6.6 billion in gold.
A ministry official said May’s growth in reserves came in part because the euro’s recent surge magnified the value of euro-denominated assets in dollar terms.
Based on data made available at the end of March, Japan was the largest foreign exchange reserve holder of any country or region for the sixth straight month, with $305.5 billion.
The 11-member euro zone ranked second at the end of February with $271.2 billion.
Among other major holders of foreign reserves, China had $160.1 billion, Taiwan $114.3 billion and Hong Kong $93.1 billion, all as of the end of February.
They were followed by South Korea with $83.6 billion at the end of March and Singapore with $74.9 billion at the end of February.