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BOJ at mercy of US, China zigs and zags

It’s hard to think of a central banker who had a more precarious year than Japan’s Haruhiko Kuroda.

Though US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell drew most of the angst with his aggressive interest-rate increases, the Bank of Japan was caught between two economic giants veering in opposite directions. The US addressed overheating risks. China’s “zero Covid” fiasco resulted in its slowest growth in 30 years – before Beijing suddenly hit the economic gas in the waning weeks of the year.  

For most of 2022, BOJ governor Kuroda held firm to the monetary equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath: doing as little harm as possible to the third-biggest economy, and a fragile one to boot.