Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said yesterday that the country's econ-omic outlook was very severe and that the central bank would take appropriate action to support the economy.
But he offered few clues on whether and when the BoJ would expand its asset-buying scheme, only saying that its next policy step would depend on economic conditions at the time.
"The BoJ sees the outlook for Japan's economy as very severe," Shirakawa told a financial committee meeting in the lower house of parliament.
"We'd like to take appropriate policy steps as needed while monitoring the economy and prices, taking into account that uncertainty over the outlook is high," he said.
Asked by a lawmaker whether the BOJ would consider buying more government bonds to support the economy, Shirakawa said only "We'd like to consider in earnest what would be the desirable step to take." The BoJ kept monetary policy unchanged on Thursday even as it lowered its growth forecast for the current fiscal year, which began in April, and warned of uncertainties over the extent of damage that March's devastating earthquake would inflict on the economy.
Shirakawa reiterated that having expanded its asset purchasing scheme days after the March 11 quake, the BoJ preferred to spend more time examining the impact it would have on the economy.
But he also left open the possibility of easing monetary policy further if damage from the quake proved bigger than expected.