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Kuroda talks up bond buying to hit price target

Bloomberg

Haruhiko Kuroda said he wants 2 percent inflation in two years and pledged to buy more government bonds, underscoring the new Bank of Japan chief’s efforts to accelerate an end to falling prices.

“Achieving the 2 percent inflation target in two years is something that I have in my mind,” Kuroda said Tuesday in the Diet. He said the BOJ may scrap a rule limiting the scale of asset buying and consider purchasing more bonds with longer maturities.

The comments spurred investors’ expectations for more monetary easing, with the yen weakening and benchmark bond yields falling to a near 10-year low. Analysts at banks from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to Barclays PLC expect the BOJ to add stimulus as soon as the next policy meeting on April 3-4.

Kikuo Iwata, one of two new BOJ deputy governors, told reporters last week that the central bank should commit to achieving the target for consumer-price increases within two years. He has suggested that the BOJ leadership should be prepared to resign if they fail to meet that goal.

Kuroda, who took up his post last week, on Tuesday reiterated his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to end more than a decade of deflation in Japan, saying that expectations for rising prices would be positive for the world’s third-largest economy.

“It’s a strong pledge from a well-intended man, but I’m not convinced it’s going to work,” said Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University.