Japan's central bank meets as recession deepens | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 19, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 19, 2009

Japan's central bank meets as recession deepens

Japan's central bank began a two-day meeting Wednesday to discuss ways to fight a deepening economic crisis that the government says is the worst since World War II.
The Bank of Japan is expected to leave its key interest rate unchanged at 0.1 percent at the gathering, which comes just days after data showed Asia's largest economy shrank at the fastest pace since 1974 in the fourth quarter.
The bank has little room to reduce its rock-bottom interest rates further so it is seeking alternative tools to unblock credit flows.
The BoJ said earlier this month that it would buy one trillion yen (10.8 billion dollars) worth of shares held by commercial banks in an effort to keep credit flowing to cash-strapped companies.
It has also announced plans to spend up to three trillion yen to buy commercial paper, a type of short-term corporate debt.
Japan's banks have been less affected by the global credit crunch than many of their US and European peers, but they have lost money because of the plunging stock market and are becoming more reluctant to lend money.
The BoJ warned last month that Japan's economy faced a two-year recession.

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