The Bank of Japan held off from a fresh policy change surprise on Friday, with the central bank keeping its ultraloose monetary policy intact.

In an apparent attempt to curb recent speculation that a major policy shift might take place earlier than expected, BOJ Gov. Kazuo Ueda stressed that the bank is unable to predict when it will be able to take such action, as the outlook for the economy and inflation is extremely unclear.

In an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun earlier this month, Ueda said there was a chance that the BOJ could have the necessary data to decide on whether to end the negative rate policy by the end of this year.