The Bank of Japan revised up its economic forecast for the current fiscal year on Thursday but reiterated that it will keep monetary policy easy, with deflation likely to persist at least until early 2011.
The central bank kept interest rates at 0.1 percent and held off on new policy initiatives as widely expected, in a unanimous vote.
Following is the text of the BOJ's statement issued after the meeting:
1. At the Monetary Policy Meeting held today, the Policy Board of the Bank of Japan decided by a unanimous vote, to set the following guideline for money market operations for the intermeeting period:
The Bank of Japan will encourage the uncollateralized overnight call rate to remain at around 0.1 percent.
2. Japan's economy shows further signs of a moderate recovery, induced by improvement in overseas economic conditions. Exports and production have been increasing mainly due to high growth in emerging economies and increased global demand for IT-related goods. Corporate profits and business sentiment have been improving, and business fixed investment is showing signs of picking up. The employment and income situation has remained severe, but the degree of severity has eased somewhat. In these circumstances, private consumption has been generally picking up. Public investment is declining. Meanwhile, financial conditions have continued to show signs of easing. The CPI (excluding fresh food) is declining on a year-on-year basis due to the substantial slack in the economy as a whole, but the slowing trend in the pace of decline has continued.
3. The Bank's baseline scenario projects that the economy is likely to be on a recovery trend. With regard to prices, based on the assumption that medium- to long-term inflation expectations remain stable, the year-on-year rate of decline in the CPI (excluding fresh food) is expected to slow as the aggregate supply and demand balance improves gradually.
4. Compared with the projections presented in the April 2010 Outlook/or Economic Activity and Prices, growth prospects will likely be higher for fiscal 2010 mainly due to acceleration of growth in emerging economies, but remain broadly unchanged for fiscal 2011. With regard to prices, the year-on-year rates of change in the domestic corporate goods price index and the CPI (excluding fresh food) are expected to be broadly in line with the projections presented in April.
5. With regard to economic activity, there are some upside risks such as even faster growth in emerging and commodity-exporting economies. On the other hand, there are also downside risks such as those related to international financial developments. In this regard, attention should be paid to the effects of developments in fiscal and financial conditions in some European economies on international finance and the global economy. With regard to prices, there is a possibility that inflation will rise more than expected due to a rise in commodity prices brought about by higher growth rates in emerging and commodity-exporting economies, while there is also a risk that the rate of inflation might decline due, for example, to a decline in medium- to long-term inflation expectations.
6. The Bank recognizes that Japan's economy faces the critical challenge of overcoming deflation and returning to a sustainable growth path with price stability. To this end, the Bank will continue to consistently make contributions as central bank. In the conduct of monetary policy, the Bank will aim to maintain the extremely accommodative financial environment.