The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy unchanged Thursday, just hours after the Federal Reserve became the latest central bank to signal a willingness to cut interest rates in the face of rising threats to economic growth.
The BOJ maintained its interest rates and asset purchases, it said in a statement. All 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted no change.
Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s views on the economic outlook and the possibility of additional stimulus will be in focus when he holds a news conference at 3:30 p.m. He is likely to reaffirm his willingness to add stimulus, something he has repeatedly pledged to do if momentum toward the BOJ’s 2% inflation target is threatened.
For the first time in more than two years, a majority of economists now predict the BOJ’s next policy move will be to increase stimulus, and some see action as early as next month. Those expectations will be reinforced after both the Fed and European Central Bank this week indicated a readiness to shift to more accommodative policy.
Fed rate cuts, seen as increasingly likely, are expected to force the BOJ’s hand by pushing the yen to what it would consider an uncomfortably strong level.
In fact, in weighing its options the BOJ will primarily focus on Fed policy and its impact on the yen, Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities Co., said before today’s decision. Ueno was among six analysts to recently predict the BOJ would increase stimulus next month.
A stronger yen would hamper the BOJ’s efforts to hit 2% inflation. Core inflation, to be released Friday, is expected to have fallen in May to 0.7% and is forecast to drop further in coming months.
Source : Bloomberg