BOJ Says Won’t Tolerate Deflation, Keeps Rate at 0.1%

The Bank of Japan held interest rates at 0.1 percent and policy makers said they are intolerant of price declines amid signs deflation may undermine the economic recovery.

Statement on Monetary Policy
1. At the Monetary Policy Meeting held today, the Policy Board of the Bank of Japan decided, by a unanimous vote,1 to set the following guideline for money market operations for the intermeeting period:

The Bank of Japan will encourage the uncollateralized overnight call rate to remain at around 0.1 percent.

2. Japan's economy is picking up mainly due to various policy measures taken at home and abroad, although there is not yet sufficient momentum to support a self-sustaining recovery in domestic private demand.  Exports and production have been increasing against a backdrop of progress in inventory adjustments both at home and abroad as well as an improvement in overseas economies, especially a recovery in emerging economies.  Business sentiment, especially at large manufacturing firms, has been improving moderately.  The decline in business fixed investment has been coming to a halt.  Private consumption, notably durable goods consumption, is picking up mainly due to policy measures, despite the continued severe employment and income situation.  Public investment has started to level off.  Meanwhile, the financial environment, with some lingering severity, has continued to show signs of improvement.  The year-on-year rate of change in the CPI (excluding fresh food) has declined, mainly due to the prices of petroleum products, which are lower than their high levels a year ago, in addition to the substantial slack persisting in the economy as a whole.  

3. The Bank's baseline scenario projects that the pace of improvement of the economy is likely to remain moderate until around the middle of fiscal 2010.  Thereafter, as improvements in the corporate sector originating from exports are expected to spill over to the household sector, the growth rate of the economy is likely gradually to rise. 

4. With regard to prices, assuming that medium- to long-term inflation expectations remain stable, the year-on-year rate of decline in the CPI (excluding fresh food) is likely to moderate as the effects of the changes in the prices of petroleum products abate. With regard to economic activity, while there are some upside risks, such as economic developments in emerging and commodity-exporting economies, there remain downside risks, although somewhat diminished; downside risk factors include the possible consequences of balance-sheet adjustments in the United States and Europe as well as potential changes in firms' medium- to long-term growth expectations.  For the time being, attention should continue to be paid to the risk that international financial developments might adversely affect economic activity, for example through their impact on business sentiment.  With regard to prices, there is a possibility that inflation will rise more than expected due to a rise in commodity prices brought about by higher growth rates in emerging and commodity-exporting economies.  On the other hand, there is also a risk that the rate of inflation might decline due, for example, to a decline in medium- to long-term inflation expectations.

5. The Bank recognizes that it is a critical challenge for Japan's economy to overcome deflation and return to a sustainable growth path with price stability.  To this end, the Bank will continue to consistently make contributions as central bank.  In the conduct of monetary policy, the Bank will aim to maintain the extremely accommodative financial environment.

6. Based on the above recognition, the Policy Board discussed the "understanding of medium- to long-term price stability" (hereafter "understanding"2), which is expressed in terms of the year-on-year rate of change in the CPI.  The Policy Board has concluded that it is appropriate to further disseminate the...

BOJ Says Won’t Tolerate Deflation, Keeps Rate at 0.1%, Bloomberg, BoJ
12/18/2009 9:47:23 AM