Japanese officials say they will allow the country’s foreign exchange unit to borrow money to pay for a $20 million bond issued by Japanese central bank in September, a move that would allow it to buy foreign exchange reserves at low interest rates.
The bank on Wednesday announced that it had pledged to borrow $15.5 million from the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and would also use its bond portfolio to purchase foreign exchange at low rates.
“The Japanese government has decided to grant a one-time loan of up to 2.4 billion yen ($20 million) to cover the payment of interest on the outstanding yen-denominated debt,” the Japanese finance ministry said in a statement.
“The debt will be repaid by the central bank within three months.”
The government has pledged to repay a total of about ¥400 billion ($4.5 billion) to Japanese bondholders this year and 2020, but it has yet to provide details of how much the debt would be repaid.
A new bond issued in September was initially pegged to the Japanese yen, and it had been expected to repay interest to bondholders in a series of payments over the next three years.
However, in a press release from the centralbank on Thursday, it said the government would pay interest on foreign exchange debt “in line with current market rates”.
The centralbank said the bond issued on September 9 was “bundling” bonds with existing yen-dollar contracts that had a maturity of 15 years or more.
“Bond holders will be able to borrow up to ¥3.2 trillion (about ¥40.5 trillion) of foreign exchange assets at rates that are appropriate for their risk levels,” the statement said.
“Foreign exchange assets in this series are to be repaid in the form of Japanese yen-currency bond,” it added.
The yen has declined against the dollar since the yen-backed yen bonds were issued, and the yen is now trading around 40% below its pre-crisis peak.
“We are in the process of evaluating the interest rate structure of the yen bond, and we are not in a position to announce any final decisions at this stage,” the centralplan said.
The Japanese centralbank also said the debt issue would allow Japan to continue to borrow at “lower” interest rates and repay it in the future.
Japan’s government has said the interest payments are aimed at keeping its economy from falling into recession.