Japan’s monetary base was 93.02 trillion yen in February, up 12.6 percent from a year earlier and rising for the 25th consecutive month, the Bank of Japan said Tuesday.

The monetary base — cash in circulation plus money in current accounts held by banks at the BOJ — grew 13.4 percent in January.

February’s growth marked the 18th straight month of double-digit increases.

The balance of banks’ current accounts at the BOJ rose 33.6 percent to 20.08 trillion yen. The balance rose 34.3 percent the previous month.

The monetary base has been growing quickly since March 2001, when the BOJ adopted a policy of quantitative monetary easing by injecting funds into the banking system to stem deflation.

The BOJ has maintained a target range of between 15 trillion yen and 20 trillion yen for the outstanding balance of current account deposits held at the central bank by private financial institutions since late October, when it decided to raise the target level to 15 trillion yen from around 10 trillion yen.

BOJ spending big

The Bank of Japan said Tuesday its purchases of shares held by banks under a special program to soften their vulnerability to stock falls totaled 831 billion yen as of Feb. 28.

The balance of shares the central bank bought from banks was up 136.8 billion yen from Feb. 20.

The BOJ began buying shares from commercial banks Nov. 29 through a trust bank. Its board decided in September to buy shares from banks to protect their balance sheets from stock falls.

Under the stock-purchase program, the BOJ plans to buy up to 2 trillion yen worth of shares by the end of this September from banks whose shareholdings exceed their core capital.

If the amount of purchases fails to reach 2 trillion yen during the set period, the central bank will extend the program by a year.

The central bank releases data on its assets — shares bought from banks — every 10 days but does not divulge the issuers of the stock it buys or the banks it purchases shares from.

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