Japan's central bank decided on Thursday to maintain its massive monetary easing program and left unchanged its assessment of the world's third-largest economy.
At a two-day policy meeting, Bank of Japan's (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his eight board colleagues voted unanimously to keep its ultra-easy policy introduced in April, according to a statement released by the BOJ after the meeting.
"The BOJ will conduct money market operations so that the monetary base will increase at an annual pace of about JPY 60-70 trillion (USD 600-700 billion)," the central bank said. "The BOJ will continue with the quantitative and qualitative monetary easing, aiming to achieve the price stability target of two percent, as long as it is necessary for maintaining that target in a stable manner," the central bank said. But the central bank refrained from taking additional steps, despite a slowdown in growth in the third quarter, only saying it will "examine both upside and downside risks to economic activity and prices, and make adjustments as appropriate." In April, the BOJ launched a massive monetary easing program to achieve its ambitious goal of ending deflation that has lasted for nearly 15 years and achieving the two percent inflation target in fiscal 2015.
The measures are designed to double the monetary and the purchases of government bonds in two years, as well as to purchase more risky financial assets, including exchange-traded funds and real estate investment trusts.
The central bank unchanged its assessment of the domestic economy, saying, "Japan's economy is recovering moderately," the same phrase it used last month.
Exports have generally been picking up and business fixed investment has been picking up as corporate profits have improved, the central bank said. Public investment has continued to increase and housing investment has also increased. Private consumption has remained resilient, with some improvement observed in the employment and income situation, it said. Last week, the government said Japan's economy grew at an annualized pace of 1.9 percent in the July-September period for the fourth straight quarter, but the growth was much weaker than the 3.8 percent expansion in the previous quarter due to a slump in exports and personal consumption.
The country's core consumer price index rose from a year earlier 0.7 percent in September for the fourth straight month of rise, indicating that inflation is finally returning to the country.
With regard to the outlook, the BOJ said Japan's economy is expected to continue a moderate recovery, the country's inflation rate is expected to rise gradually. But it pointed out risks, saying, "there remains a high degree of uncertainty," including the prospects for the European debt problem, developments in the emerging and commodity-exporting economies, and the pace of recovery in the US economy.