Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda has said that the central bank’s price target is not already in sight, a comment that may temper speculation the bank’s first rate hike since 2007 could come as early as March.

"We are not yet in a position to foresee the achievement of a sustainable and stable inflation target,” Ueda said on Thursday after meeting with Group of 20 central bankers and finance chiefs in Sao Paulo. "We will continue to seek confirmation whether the virtuous cycle between wages and price began to turn.”

Ueda played down the significance of Japan’s slide back into a technical recession as a leveling off of strong post-pandemic growth and expressed his confidence in the economy. His remarks reinforced the view that the BOJ is still largely on track to raise rates once it has sufficient evidence to support the move.