The Bank of Japan’s Policy Board unanimously agreed Tuesday to keep its current easy money policy unchanged, leaving the central bank’s official discount rate at a historically low 0.5 percent.
The results of the day’s meeting were widely anticipated, although there had been speculation that some members of the board might discuss the possibility of further reducing interest rates to give the economy another shot in the arm.
While the central bank is watching the economy to check for signs of a possible deflationary spiral, it was apparently decided that the effects of the government’s most recent economic stimulus package, which is worth over 16 trillion yen, should be given more time to become apparent.
Earlier this month Yutaka Yamaguchi, one of the BOJ’s two deputy governors, commented that easing interest rates would have “slightly more” positive effects than negative repercussions. Some other members of the board also suggested that more reductions might become necessary if the economy deteriorates further.
But many analysts point out that reducing interest rates further would cut income earned from interest and could dampen already weak personal spending. A wider gap in interest rates between Japan and the United States might also lead to a further depreciation of the yen.
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