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BOJ forgoes fresh easing steps as economy picks up

AFP-JIJI

The Bank of Japan held off Thursday from launching fresh easing steps as the economy shows increasing signs that the Abe administration’s policy blitz aimed at reviving growth is gaining traction.

The brief BOJ statement on its asset-buying scheme came as attention turned to the release of its semiannual economic outlook later in the day.

With data indicating the economy is slowly picking up, BOJ policymakers had been expected to hold their fire as they study the effects of the unprecedented pump-priming.

However, BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said earlier in October that he was ready to pull the trigger on fresh policy moves if the economy heads south.

The vast easing measures announced in April were part of a wider drive fronted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aimed at ending years of deflation and anemic growth.

Recent figures suggest the policy is working. The quarterly “tankan” survey this month showed that business confidence has soared to a more than five-year high, while economic growth has easily outpaced expansion in the other Group of Seven nations so far this year.