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Last Thursday, the yen mysteriously surged by more than 4% against the dollar in a matter of minutes, rocking the currency markets.

Japan's economic minister blamed the anomaly on financial speculators, as the G-7 was forced to intervene by selling 530 billion yen.

Later, it was revealed that the Barclays had pulled its bets against the yen during the episode.  Was the entire incident triggered by the same fat finger that facilitated last year's flash crash?

From Dow Jones:

Barclays Capital pulled yen prices off its Barx dealing system for a short period Wednesday, as the Japanese currency surged to its strongest levels on record.

The dollar collapsed against the yen in late New York trading Wednesday, sinking 4% to a record low of 76.25 yen.

Most big banks' systems functioned normally during that hectic period, albeit with a markedly wider spread between where the banks were prepared to buy and sell the currency's feature that reflected extreme market stress and uncertainty. But Barx was unavailable, a Switzerland-based user said.

Last May, regulators were prompted to ban banks from trading on their own accounts.  It appears that some high-rollers haven't gotten the message:

"All of the banks showed wide spreads--they went into panic mode," the Barx user said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"But I use six banks, and of them, only Barx was down," he said, adding that he was unable to trade yen on the system for an hour.

A person familiar with the situation said that Barx didn't experience any technical difficulties, but the bank's traders decided to pull prices from the system to protect themselves during hectic trading conditions at what is normally a quiet time of day.

But why would Barlcays need to protect itself from a plunging market. Recall that the bank, per the Volcker rule, should not have prop positions, right?

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