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BOJ stays ultra-easy policy course; outlook same

Kyodo

The Bank of Japan on Friday maintained its ultra-easy monetary policy and left unchanged its assessment of the domestic economy, saying it is “recovering moderately” amid continuing improvements in business sentiment and consumer spending.

The Policy Board decided unanimously to keep intact the central bank’s large-scale easing policy introduced in April, centering on doubling the monetary base and boosting government bond purchases to achieve a 2 percent inflation goal around April 2015.

The BOJ maintained its view on the economy after upgrading the assessment in September’s Policy Board meeting.

It said business sentiment continues to improve, after its quarterly “tankan” survey earlier this week showed the business confidence index among large manufacturers rose in September for the third straight quarter, reaching its highest level since December 2007.

In a statement released after the latest Policy Board meeting, the BOJ raised its views on corporate and housing investment, saying capital spending “has been picking up” due to improved profits, while housing investment has “increased.”

But it decided to keep intact its economic assessment, apparently amid uncertainties surrounding overseas economies, as some are suffering slowing growth, and because the U.S. government has partially shut down operations due to political deadlock over the budget.

On overseas economies, the BOJ retained its view that, though lackluster performance was seen in part, they are “gradually heading toward a pickup” overall.

On the outlook for Japan’s economy, the BOJ also maintained the view that it is “expected to continue a moderate recovery” and said the year-on-year increase in consumer prices is “likely to rise gradually.”