Bank of Japan Maintains Negative Interest Rate
Bank of Japan.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories)Bank of Japan (BoJ) maintained a negative interest rate of minus 0.1 percent, even though Japanese politicians demanded rate increase, based on its written statement.

In the monetary policy meeting, the central bank also decided to purchase Japanese government bonds (JGBs) to keep the 10-years yields will remain at around zero percent. While doing so, the yields may move upward and downward to some extent mainly depending on developments in economic activity and prices.

With regard to the amount of JGBs to be purchased, the Bank will conduct purchases in a flexible manner so that their amount outstanding will increase at an annual pace of about 80 trillion yen (US$712 billion).

Then, the bank will purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japan real estate investment trusts (J-REITs) so that their amounts outstanding will increase at annual paces of about 6 trillion yen and about 90 billion yen, respectively. With a view to lowering risk premium of asset prices in an appropriate manner, the Bank may increase or decrease the number of purchases depending on market conditions.

As for Consumer Prices and corporate bonds, the Bank will maintain their amounts outstanding at about 2.2 trillion yen and about 3.2 trillion yen, respectively.

This decision is based on Japan’ economy which is expanding moderately, with a virtuous cycle from income to spending operating, although exports and production have been affected by the slowdown in overseas economies. Overseas economies have been growing moderately on the whole, although slowdowns have been observed. In this situation, exports have shown some weakness recently.

On the domestic demand side, business fixed investment has continued on an increasing trend, with corporate profits and business sentiment staying at favorable levels on the whole. Private consumption has been increasing moderately, albeit with fluctuations, against the background of steady improvement in the employment and income situation.

Meanwhile, housing investment has been more or less flat. Public investment also has been more or less flat, remaining at a relatively high level. Reflecting these developments in demand both at home and abroad, industrial production has been on a moderate increasing trend, although it has shown some weakness recently.

Labor market conditions have continued to tighten steadily. Financial conditions are highly accommodative. On the price front, the year-on-year rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI, all items less fresh food) is in the range of 0.5-1.0 percent. Inflation expectations have been more or less unchanged.

The bank viewed Japan’s economy is likely to continue its moderate expansion, despite being affected by the slowdown in overseas economies for the time being. Domestic demand is likely to follow an uptrend, with a virtuous cycle from income to spending being maintained in both the corporate and household sectors, mainly against the background of highly accommodative financial conditions and the underpinnings through government spending.

Although exports are projected to show some weakness, for the time being, they are expected to be on a moderate increasing trend on the back of overseas economies growing moderately on the whole. The year-on-year rate of change in the CPI is likely to increase gradually toward 2 percent, mainly on the back of the output gap remaining positive and medium- to long-term inflation expectations rising.

However, the bank also includes the potential risks that will be facing in the future, namely the U.S. macroeconomic policies and their impact on global financial markets; the consequences of protectionist moves and their effects; developments in emerging and commodity-exporting economies including the effects of the two aforementioned factors; negotiations on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and its effects; and geopolitical risks.

BoJ  will continue with “Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing with yield curve control,” aiming to achieve the price stability target of 2 percent, as long as it is necessary for maintaining that target in a stable manner. It will continue expanding the monetary base until the year-on-year rate of increase in the observed CPI (all items less fresh food) exceeds 2 percent and stays above the target in a stable manner.

As for policy rates, the Bank intends to maintain the current extremely low levels of short and long-term interest rates for an extended period of time, taking into account uncertainties regarding economic activity and prices including the effects of the consumption tax hike scheduled to take place in October 2019.

It will examine the risks considered most relevant to the conduct of monetary policy and make policy adjustments as appropriate, taking account of developments in economic activity and prices as well as financial conditions, with a view to maintaining the momentum toward achieving the price stability target.

US$1= ¥111.43

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