FirstFT: The yen continues descent to 24-year low

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The yen plunged to a 24-year low of ¥135.17 against the dollar on Monday, with the currency’s slide drawing increasing scrutiny from Japanese authorities wary of its rapid weakening.

Following a week of setting fresh 20-year lows, the yen continued its descent as traders bet that the Bank of Japan will remain the only leading central bank to maintain ultra-loose monetary policy despite its counterparts in the US and Europe entering an interest-rate raising cycle.

“It’s important that currency rates move stably reflecting fundamentals. But there has recently been sharp yen declines, which we are concerned about,” said Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary.

“We are ready to respond appropriately as needed, while communicating closely with each country’s currency authorities,” said Matsuno. He declined to comment on whether the government would intervene to stop the yen’s decline.

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1. US stocks trade in bear market territory as sell-off accelerates US stocks closed in a bear market on Monday after a late-session sell-off, while government bond yields soared, with investors unnerved over high inflation and the prospect of aggressive monetary tightening by central banks.

2. Bitcoin tumbles after crypto lender Celsius blocks redemptions Binance halted withdrawals of bitcoin for several hours after crypto lender Celsius also blocked customers from pulling funds from its platform, citing “extreme market conditions”, while digital assets slumped in price. The move comes amid growing signs that the infrastructure underpinning the digital asset market is creaking under the strain.

3. China tells banks to limit executive pay Chinese securities regulators and industry associations have instructed local and foreign banks to rein in executive pay levels, in the latest sign that President Xi Jinping’s drive to promote “common prosperity” is gathering pace ahead of a crucial Communist party congress this year.

4. Johnson pushes ahead on plan to rip up N Ireland protocol UK prime minister Boris Johnson has defied criticism and published legislation to rip up his 2020 Brexit deal with the EU, insisting there was “no other way” of protecting the peace process in Northern Ireland.

5. ‘Ferocious’ Omicron outbreak in Beijing An outbreak at a popular 24-hour bar in the Chinese capital’s usually bustling Chaoyang district has infected more than 200 people and forced more than 6,000 people to isolate at home. Authorities have since closed all entertainment venues in Chaoyang.

The day ahead

Anniversary of London’s Grenfell tower block fire Today marks five years since fire that engulfed west London’s Grenfell tower block, exposing shortcomings in the building’s cladding and sparking a crisis for apartment owners across the UK that continues to generate repercussions.

UK plan to deport asylum seekers begins The UK government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda by air can go ahead on Tuesday, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

What else we’re reading

The WTO’s lonely struggle to defend global trade For almost three decades, the World Trade Organization has been lowering barriers to trade and smoothing the path of globalisation. Yet its ministerial meeting in Geneva this week could result in something that would do the opposite: new tariffs.

Japan’s heavy industry looks to a greener future Japan may be the world’s fifth biggest carbon emitter but its leaders are unequivocal in their commitment to do better. While such pledges are not unusual, Japan may be better placed than many of its Asia-Pacific peers to meet them.

Sidestepping Beijing’s ban through livestream steak sales Chinese edtech New Oriental has discovered a workaround to survive Beijing’s ban on companies profiting from teaching school curriculum subjects by combining language classes with product sales. Teachers using English lessons to sell steaks have become a viral hit.

New Oriental is struggling to shore up sales after Beijing’s sweeping overhaul of its private education industry last year
New Oriental is struggling to shore up sales after Beijing’s sweeping overhaul of its private education industry last year © Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Elon Musk’s bankers face dilemma: should they help him kill the Twitter deal? Wall Street lenders bankrolling the Tesla chief’s $44bn acquisition of the social media company may soon find the industry’s biggest payday on the line, as Musk claims that concerns about fake accounts give him grounds to walk away from a deal.

A bitterly divided board, Birkin bag bonuses and a fight for control Incumbent bosses usually feature on the official company slate of nominees for a board election. But in one of the most unusual corporate battles in recent memory, there will be no Aerojet slate at a June 30 meeting as two rival factions, each with four members of the eight-person board, square off for control of the company.

Travel

With FT Globetrotter’s insider guide to a green weekend in London, find out where to stay (luxuriously), eat (deliciously) and roam (non-pollutingly) for a sustainable sojourn in the UK capital.

Regent’s Canal
Start your Sunday with a stroll or cycle ride along Regent’s Canal © Lecart Photos/Alamy

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