TOKYO, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Japan's foreign exchange reserves dropped to 1.091 trillion U.S. dollars at the end of February from 1.093 U.S. dollars a month earlier, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Monday.
According to the ministry, the latest figure for Japan's foreign exchange reserves marked the fourth consecutive month-on- month decline.
Japan's foreign exchange reserves consist of securities and deposits denominated in foreign currencies, International Monetary Fund reserves, IMF special drawing rights (SDRs) and gold, and are the second largest in the world after China's.
At the end of February, Japan's foreign currency reserves stood at 1.031 trillion, IMF reserves at 4.71 billion U.S. dollars, SDRs at 21.08 billion U.S. dollars, gold at 34.71 billion U.S. dollars and other reserve assets stood at 440 million U.S. dollars, the MOF said.
Japan's foreign exchange reserves are being increasingly watched for evidence of how the country is managing its vast foreign currency holdings, and the biggest fluctuations usually occur when the Bank of Japan intervenes in the currency market on behalf of the MOF to prevent a steep appreciation or depreciation of the yen.
Foreign reserves here hit their highest in October 2010 at 1. 118 trillion U.S. dollars a month after Japan stepped into the markets for the first time in six years in September.
Japan started dumping the yen and boosting the dollar in order to safeguard its fragile export sector that relies on a weaker yen to make Japanese products more competitive and profitable in international markets.
Special Report: Global Financial Crisis