Bank of Japan holds steady on monetary policy

It is expected to turn positive and then increase gradually, as downward pressure on prices is projected to wane gradually along with economic improvement and the effects of the decline in crude oil prices are likely to dissipate, Bank of Japan added.

Sep 17, 2020 01:09 IST India Infoline News Service

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) kept monetary policy steady on Thursday. In its monetary policy statement, the BoJ said the Japanese economy has started to pick up but remained in “a severe situation” due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic at home and abroad.

The Bank decided, by an 8-1 majority vote, to set the following guideline for market operations for the intermeeting period. The Bank will apply a negative interest rate of minus 0.1% to the Policy-Rate Balances in current accounts held by financial institutions at the Bank.

The Bank will purchase a necessary amount of Japanese government bonds (JGBs) without setting an upper limit so that 10-year JGB 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.

Japan's economy has started to pick up with economic activity resuming gradually, although it has remained in a severe situation due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at home and abroad. Overseas economies also have started to pick up from a state of significant depression. In this situation, exports and industrial production have turned to a pick-up.

On the other hand, corporate profits and business sentiment have deteriorated, and business fixed investment has been on a declining trend. With the continuing impact of COVID-19, the employment and income situation has been weak. Private consumption has picked up gradually on the whole, although consumption of services, such as eating and drinking as well as accommodations, has remained at a low level. Housing investment has declined moderately, BOJ said in the monetary policy statement.

Meanwhile, public investment has continued to increase moderately. Financial conditions have been accommodative on the whole but those for corporate financing have remained less so, as seen in weakness in firms' financial positions. On the price front, the year-on-year rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI, all items less fresh food) is at around 0 percent, mainly affected by the past decline in crude oil prices. Inflation expectations have weakened somewhat.

With regard to the outlook, Japan's economy, with economic activity resuming, is likely to follow an improving trend through the materialization of pent-up demand and supported by accommodative financial conditions and the government's economic measures. However, the pace of improvement is expected to be only moderate while the impact of COVID-19 remains worldwide. Thereafter, as the impact subsides globally, the economy is projected to keep improving further with overseas economies returning to a steady growth path. The year-on year rate of change in the CPI (all items less fresh food) is likely to be negative for the time being, mainly affected by COVID-19 and the past decline in crude oil prices. Thereafter, it is expected to turn positive and then increase gradually, as downward pressure on prices is projected to wane gradually along with economic improvement and the effects of the decline in crude oil prices are likely to dissipate, Bank of Japan added.

Related Story