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Financial News: BoJ Maintains Monetary Stimulus; Cuts Inflation Forecast

BoJ Maintains Monetary Stimulus; Cuts Inflation Forecast

10/31/2017 - 03:28:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The Bank of Japan kept its monetary stimulus unchanged, on Tuesday, despite lowering its inflation outlook.

Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his board members decided by an 8-1 majority vote to hold its target of raising the amount of outstanding JGB holdings at an annual pace of about JPY 80 trillion, the bank said in a statement.

The bank will purchase government bonds so that the yield of 10-year JGBs will remain at around zero percent.

The board also decided to maintain the -0.1 percent interest rate on current accounts that financial institutions maintain at the bank.

New board member Goushi Kataoka dissented as he said if there was a delay in the timing of achieving the price stability target due to domestic factors, the bank should take additional easing measures.

Kataoka said the bank should purchase government bonds so that 15-year yields would remain at less than 0.2 percent.

Inflation is likely to continue on an uptrend and increase toward 2 percent, mainly on the back of the improvement in the output gap and the rise in medium- to long-term inflation expectations, the bank said in its Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices.

Inflation forecast for the fiscal 2017 was lowered to 0.8 percent from 1.1 percent and the projection for 2018 to 1.4 percent from 1.5 percent. Nonetheless, the outlook for the fiscal 2019 was maintained at 2.3 percent.

Real GDP growth expectation for 2017 was raised slightly to 1.9 percent from 1.8 percent, while the projections for the fiscal 2018 was retained at 1.4 percent.

In the fiscal 2019, the economy is expected to continue expanding, although the growth pace is projected to decelerate to 0.7 percent due to a cyclical slowdown in business fixed investment and the effects of the scheduled consumption tax hike.

Marcel Thieliant, an economist at Capital Economics, said growth is set to slow more sharply than the BoJ currently anticipates and price pressures are likely to strengthen only gradually. The upshot is that the BoJ is unlikely to tighten policy anytime soon, the economist added.

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