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Bank of Japan keeps its ultra-low interest rates unchanged, as widely expected

The Bank of Japan made the widely expected decision to maintain its ultra-low interest rates and expressed increasing confidence in achieving its inflation target of 2% in the coming years.

As anticipated, the BOJ opted to keep its ultra-low interest rates steady. This decision aligns with market expectations and indicates the central bank’s ongoing commitment to its accommodative monetary policy stance.

The BOJ conveyed a growing conviction that inflation is poised to durably reach the 2% target in the future, signaling readiness to potentially hike borrowing costs later this year. This reflects the central bank’s confidence in the effectiveness of its policies in stimulating inflation.

The immediate market reaction saw the yen falling to its lowest level against the dollar in over three decades. This response suggests that market participants perceive the BOJ’s policy stance as excessively loose, leading to increased pressure on the yen. The lack of clear guidance from the BOJ and the possibility of currency intervention have kept markets on edge.

Governor Kazuo Ueda acknowledged that while the effects of yen movements are typically temporary, their impact on underlying inflation cannot be ignored, especially if they result in upward pressure on wages. This underscores the BOJ’s awareness of the interplay between currency dynamics and inflation.

The BOJ’s quarterly outlook report reflects growing confidence in achieving its inflation target, projecting core consumer inflation to reach 2.8% in the current fiscal year before moderating to 1.9% in fiscal years 2025 and 2026. This indicates the central bank’s belief that inflation will gradually rise as wages and prices increase in tandem.

The latest outlook assessment suggests that the prospects for achieving 2% inflation are gradually improving, albeit with some uncertainties. The BOJ remains cautiously optimistic about the trajectory of inflation but acknowledges the need to navigate potential challenges and uncertainties.

The BOJ’s decision to maintain its current policy stance reflects its confidence in the economy’s trajectory and its commitment to achieving its inflation target, however, market participants remain alert of any developments that could impact the yen’s value and inflation dynamics moving forward.