The Bank of Japan held off on expanding monetary stimulus, as Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his colleagues opted to take more time to assess the impact of negative interest rates.
The move comes as a surprise to the slight majority of economists surveyed by Bloomberg who had projected some action from the central bank in response to a strengthening in the yen that has cast a shadow over prospects for higher wages and investment. The currency rallied against the dollar immediately after the decision while stocks in Tokyo tumbled.
Policy makers are betting that their success in bringing down borrowing costs since unveiling the negative-rate strategy in January will generate an acceleration in lending. They left unchanged three key easing tools — the 80 trillion yen ($732 billion) target for expanding the monetary base, mostly through government-bond purchases, the 0.1 percent negative rate on a portion of the cash banks park at the BOJ, and a program to buy riskier assets including stocks. Separately, they postponed their time frame for reaching a 2 percent inflation target, to sometime in fiscal 2017, for the fourth delay in about a year.
Read the Full Article: Source – Bloomberg
Time For Truth: (Bloomberg) – Bank of Japan Stuns Market by Holding Off on More Stimulus
Forget the G-20 agreement on no “competitive devaluations” – the full court press on the Bank of Japan to engage in the next round of aggressive currency devaluation is on, just three months after Kuroda unveiled Japan’s first negative interest rate.
Recall that it was Goldman who not only brought forward its forecast for a first rate hike from July to April and first suggested earlier this week that it is time for the Bank of Japan to forget about caution and to more than double its purchases of equities in the form of ETFs (and which the BOJ already owns a majority of all available securities) as doing either more NIRP and more QE may no longer have a favorable outcome:
The International Monetary Fund said on Sunday that a move to negative rates by some of the world’s central banks would help deliver extra monetary stimulus and ease lending conditions.
Six of the world’s central banks have introduced negative rates, most notably the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank, and around a quarter of the world economy by output is now experiencing official rates that are less than zero.
Fears that Japan’s anti-deflation strategy is unravelling have intensified after a sharp rise in the value of the yen against the dollar prompted a concerted attempt by policymakers in Tokyo to talk down the value of the currency.
Japan’s finance minister, Taro Aso, raised the prospect of intervention on the foreign exchanges to counter what he called the “excessive” rise in the yen, which has gained 12% against the dollar since the start of 2016 to stand at a 16-year-high.
Japan’s consumer inflation was flat in the year to February as low energy costs and weak consumption put a lid on price growth, government data showed on Friday, keeping the central bank under pressure to top up stimulus although it eased policy less than two months ago.
A separate BOJ index calculated by the central bank to strip out the effects of energy and fresh food prices showed consumer inflation at 1.1 percent in the year to February, unchanged from January.