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Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda didn’t take the hint.
The BOJ held off on taking any fresh stimulus at a press conference Wednesday, though drooping exports and falling oil prices are undercutting its projections that the economy is on track to hit the bank’s 2% inflation target next year. This, after the International Monetary Fund warned earlier this week that the central bank should ease monetary policy soon if it wants to hit Japan’s inflation bull’s-eye.
Kuroda is still sold on the idea that a huge money-printing effort will eventually lift the world’s third-biggest economy out of the quagmire of nearly two decades of deflation.
“The trend of consumer rises is rising steadily,” he told a news conference after the BOJ maintained its pledge to increase base money at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($700 billion) through aggressive purchases of assets such as government bonds.
“There is absolutely no change to our stance that we will steadily implement quantitative and qualitative easing to achieve the 2% inflation target at the earliest possible time.” Kuroda just didn’t say when.
However, the BOJ may have a hard time forestalling the inevitable. Lingering worries about a Japanese recession have many economists predicting that the central bank will ease policy at a more crucial meeting on Oct. 30, when it is expected to cut its long-term economic and price forecasts.
“The BOJ will revise down its forecasts and ease again on Oct. 30,” said Takuji Aida, chief economist at Societe Generale Securities.
“Kuroda has to wait until then to revise down his scenario.”