It’s been a bad year for the Japanese stock market. Without record purchases by the Bank of Japan, it could have been even worse.

The central bank spent ¥833 billion ($7.8 billion) on exchange-traded funds tracking the country’s shares last month, the biggest amount logged in data stretching back to late 2010. In the first quarter, too, it bought more than ever before. As the market slumped in a global equity rout, deserted by foreign investors, with the benchmark Topix index sinking to its first back-to-back monthly declines since the start of 2016, the BOJ stepped in.

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