BoJ Holds Rates, Lowers Inflation Forecasts

The Bank of Japan left its key short-term interest rate unchanged at -0.1 percent at its October meeting and kept the target for the 10-year Japanese government bond yield at around zero percent, as widely expected. The central bank also revised down inflation forecasts again, saying that the momentum toward achieving the price stability target of 2 percent is not sufficiently firm despite years of massive monetary easing.
Bank of Japan | Rida | 10/31/2018 7:55:53 AM
The inflation forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2019 was lowered to 0.9 percent from 1.1 percent previously estimated. Also, the central bank now expects inflation to average 1.4 percent for fiscal 2019 (vs 1.5 percent) and 1.5 percent for fiscal 2020 (vs 1.6 percent).

With regard to the amount of JGBs to be purchased, the Bank will conduct purchases in a flexible manner so that their amount outstanding will increase at an annual pace of about 80 trillion yen. 

The BoJ also determined by an unanimous vote to purchase ETFs and Japan real estate investment trusts (J-REITs) so that their amounts outstanding will increase at an annual paces of about 6 trillion yen and about 90 billion yen, respectively. As for CP and corporate bonds, the Bank will maintain their amounts outstanding at about 2.2 trillion yen and about 3.2 trillion yen, respectively.  

Excerpts from the Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices:

Japan's economy is likely to continue its moderate expansion. In fiscal 2018, domestic demand is likely to follow an uptrend, with a virtuous cycle from income to spending being maintained in both corporate and household sectors, mainly against the background of highly accommodative financial conditions and the underpinnings through government spending. Business fixed investment is likely to continue increasing amid accommodative financial conditions, led mainly by investment intended for domestic capacity expansion in line with the economic expansion, Olympic Games-related investment, and labor-saving investment to address the labor shortage. Private consumption is also expected to follow a moderate increasing trend as emplyment and income situation continues to improve. Public investment is expected to remain at a relatively high level, mainly reflecting Olympic Games-related demand and the supplementary budgets. Exports are expected to continue their moderate increasing trend on the back of the firm growth in overseas economies.

Meanwhile, the year-on-year rate of change in the consumer price index, all items less freah food, has been posiive but has continued to show relatively weak developments compared to the economic expansion and the labor market tightening. Under these circumstances, a rise in medium to long-term inflation expectations has been lagging behind. Nonetheless, with the output gap rmeining positive, firms' stance in expected to gradually shift toward further raising wages and prices and households' tolerance of price rises will increase. 

With regard to the risks balance, risks to both economic activity and prices were skewed to the downside. On the price front, the momentum toward achieving the price stability target of 2 percent is maintained but is not yet suffficiently firm, and developments in prices continue to warrant careful attention. 

BoJ Holds Rates, Lowers Inflation Forecasts