BOJ policymakers note yen strength

Kyodo

Some Bank of Japan policymakers are calling for the central bank to continue its monetary easing policy to further influence the foreign exchange market to help weaken the yen, according to the minutes of the Nov. 19-20 policy meeting released Wednesday.

Some cited the need to change the wording of the bank’s policy commitment to dispel “misunderstanding and suspicions” in the foreign exchange market about the BOJ’s monetary easing, it said.

One member suggested changing the wording to reflect a commitment to powerful monetary easing, mainly through the near-zero interest rate policy and the purchase of financial assets “without setting any time frame,” until a 1 percent inflation rate in the consumer price index is achieved.

The BOJ says it will keep in place its near-zero interest rate policy and asset-purchase program until it judges a “1 percent goal to be in sight,” based on a year-on-year increase in the CPI.

However, many members responded that the BOJ should provide an in-depth explanation if such misunderstanding and suspicions about the bank’s monetary easing stance exists.

On the outlook for the economy, members agreed it was likely to remain relatively weak for the time being, citing slowing exports and industrial production, the minutes said.