The Bank of Japan said Monday its purchases of shares from banks totaled 1.52 trillion yen as of July 31, an increase of 14.5 billion yen from July 20.

The increase is the fourth-smallest since the central bank began buying shares from commercial banks through a trust bank Nov. 29, following a decision by the BOJ Policy Board in September to buy shares from banks to protect their balance sheets from stock price falls.

The BOJ initially set the ceiling on its stock purchases from banks at 2 trillion yen, but it raised the ceiling to 3 trillion yen March 25.

It buys shares from banks whose shareholdings exceed their core capital.

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