Bank of Japan keeps monetary easing as Fed raises rates | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 21, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:53 AM, December 21, 2018

Bank of Japan keeps monetary easing as Fed raises rates

Japan's central bank Thursday maintained its ultra-loose monetary easing policy and said it was not looking for an exit strategy, even as the US central bank hikes interest rates.

As the Bank of Japan continues its battle against deflation in the world's third-biggest economy, it vowed to keep short-term rates at minus 0.1 percent "as long as necessary" to hit its two-percent inflation target.

The bank is far from achieving this, with inflation currently hovering around one percent.

"We don't plan on looking for an exit strategy at the moment. It's too early to discuss its details," BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters after the decision.

The BoJ has struggled for years to reach the two-percent inflation rate thought necessary to turbocharge Japan's economy, and has defended its decision to maintain its monetary easing even as other central banks tighten policy.

Thursday's BoJ decision came after the Federal Reserve hiked rates for the fourth time this year but signalled a slower pace of rate rises in 2019.

As for external risks, Kuroda said it is "necessary to carefully monitor moves related to protectionism including the US-China trade war".

"If the trade row continues for a long time, this could broadly affect the economy... But its impact on our country is limited," he added.

"We should monitor various risks, but our forecasts that (the) Japanese economy will expand moderately will not be changed."

The bank has been criticised for the consequences of its policy, including concerns that its massive purchases of government and corporate bonds are skewing bond and financial markets.

In a nod to those concerns, it said in July it would seek to keep yields on the benchmark 10-year government bond at around zero percent.

But there are no expectations that it will follow the lead of the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank and move towards tightening.

In September, Kuroda said the bank had no plans to raise long-term interest rates "for quite a long time".

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