The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's top foreign exchange official said Friday that the central bank purchased $700 million worth of U.S. currency through the sale of German marks and Japanese yen on the last day of April.
The disclosure, made during a quarterly foreign-exchange press briefing, marked the first details of exactly how much the central bank spent during that period, when it orchestrated an enormous intervention with 15 other nations to defend the dollar's value.Peter R. Fisher, senior vice president and manager foreign operations for the bank's trading account, said concerns over a weakening dollar, brought on by the breakdown in U.S.-Japan trade talks and strong demand for German marks, led to the central bank's decision to buy dollars in an effort to prop up the currency's value in global markets.
The Fed purchased $500 million worth of U.S. currency against the German mark and $200 million against the Japanese yen on April 29, Fisher said.
The last major intervention taken by the Fed occurred in late May 1993, when the central bank purchased $693 million against the yen, Fisher said.
At the end of April, the Fed had $13.616 billion in marks and $9.375 billion in yen. The Treasury held $8.414 billion in marks and $12.6 billion in yen.