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BOJ keeps negative rates, offers no surprises in final meeting of 2023

Published 19/12/2023, 04:14
Updated 19/12/2023, 04:14
© Reuters.

Investing.com-- The Bank of Japan left interest rates in negative territory as widely expected on Tuesday, and said it will continue with its yield curve control measures to support Japanese economic growth. 

The BOJ left short-term interest rates at negative 0.1%, and said it will continue with its asset purchases and monetary stimulus measures. 

The bank said it will continue to allow 10-year yields to move in a range of negative 1% to 1% under its YCC policy. It had softened its language towards the range in its October meeting, stating that it will allow more flexibility in yields, potentially beyond the 1% upper limit. 

The BOJ altered the YCC policy three times over the past year, citing increased risks to the Japanese economy from high inflation and laggard wage growth. But it largely maintained its ultra-dovish stance, citing the need for more economic support in the face of increased headwinds. 

The BOJ offered scant cues on its plans for any monetary policy tightening in 2024. The Japanese yen sank 0.5% after the rate decision, with traders disappointed with the lack of cues for 2024.

10-year yields rose 1.3% to 0.679% after the decision, but remained well below their upper limit.

While Governor Kazuo Ueda recently offered some cues on a potential pivot in 2024, markets remained uncertain over the timing of such a move, given that Ueda said it was unlikely to happen in the near-term.

The BOJ reiterated this stance on Tuesday, stating that the Japanese economy was likely to face continued headwinds from declining export demand and sticky inflation. 

“With extremely high uncertainties surrounding economies and financial markets at home and abroad, the Bank will patiently continue with monetary easing while nimbly responding to developments in economic activity and prices as well as financial conditions,” the BOJ said in a statement. 

The BOJ said it expects consumer price index inflation to remain above its 2% annual target in fiscal 2024, although growth in prices is expected to moderate. Underlying CPI inflation is also expected to gradually move towards the 2% target. 

Focus is now on an upcoming press conference with Governor Ueda at 16:00 JST (08:30 GMT), for more cues on monetary policy. A reading on Japanese CPI inflation is also due later this week.

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