/

Kuroda-led BOJ meeting starts amid rumors of more easing

Kyodo

The Bank of Japan started a two-day policy meeting Wednesday amid speculation it will introduce a new monetary easing scheme and further ease monetary policy to achieve its 2 percent inflation target.

At the first meeting chaired by new Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda, the nine-member Policy Board is likely to discuss the idea of integrating its two longer-dated bond-buying programs into one to make the bank’s monetary easing more transparent for the market and enhancing its economic impact.

The BOJ currently buys long-term government bonds under two programs — a traditional method to provide liquidity via regular market operations and an asset-purchase fund introduced by Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa in 2010.

The integration of the two programs would make it easier for the market to grasp the size of the BOJ’s government bond holdings as well as the pace of its bond purchases, sources said.

The bank will also consider further easing its monetary policy centering on boosting the purchases of long-term government bonds as well as moving up the start of “open-ended” easing scheduled to begin in 2014.

The additional easing measures are likely to come into line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies, which include aggressive monetary easing, and Kuroda’s pledge to pursue “bold monetary easing in terms of quality and quantity.”

Among further easing steps likely to be discussed are the possibility of extending the duration of the bonds it buys to five or 10 years and the purchasing of riskier financial assets such as exchange-traded funds and real estate investment trusts.

The BOJ’s JGB purchases as a monetary easing measure have been limited to bonds of up to three years in maturity.