Analysts mull expectations for Japan

"The MoF had been seeking to maintain 107.5 as the lowest possible level at the start of this year," said Ryo Hino, an economist at JPMorgan Securities in Tokyo. "But it couldn’t hold this, and so it has now retreated to a smoothing operation."

The MoF is expected to be particularly active during the first quarter of 2004 due to a number of factors.

The dollar slide -- though it is showing signs of faltering against the euro -- is continuing against the yen, which could force more interventio