The Bank of Japan sent the yen surging against the dollar as the Bank of Japan did not decided to change its current monetary policy. There were some expectations for a move but the BoJ surprised markets by holding rates and not buying more assets.
The Bank maintained its negative interest rate at the level introduced in January at minus 0.1 per cent. Its quantitative and qualitative easing programme was left steady at 80tn yen.
The yen strengthened as much as 2.4 per cent to 108.77 yen.
Expectations that Japanese policymakers would take further action at today’s meeting, against a backdrop of low inflation and a stronger yen, had been growing in recent weeks. The BoJ did not rule out further easing. It added that GDP growth would be lower mainly due to weaker exports.
Meanwhile, Japanese inflation data released just before the BoJ announcement could have pressured the Bank not to make a move. Core inflation – the measure for which the BoJ has a 2 per cent price target – was minus 0.3 per cent in March, and zero in February.
The BoJ’s timescale for reaching the 2 per cent target has been repeatedly pushed back, and it outlined a further delay on Thursday, saying that CPI would hit 2 per cent “during fiscal 2017,” – potentially adding a delay of another couple months. Originally hoped for in 2015 when it was announced in 2013, last October it was pushed back to late 2016/early 2017 and in January a further delay of up to a year was announced.
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