Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


BoJ’s hawkish tilt suggests end to super-easy policy approaching


TOKYO — Bank of Japan (BoJ) policy makers are increasingly talking up the need to shift away from the massive monetary stimulus of the past decade, even as growing global risks heighten concerns about a fragile economic recovery.

A series of hawkish comments by BoJ speakers in recent weeks suggest the bank is preparing markets for an eventual policy change amid growing price pressures in deflation-prone Japan, analysts say.

Even dovish members of the BoJ board have expressed an openness to talk about a long-awaited exit from the extremely accommodative policy of former governor Haruhiko Kuroda, acknowledging changes in conditions may warrant a tweak in monetary settings.

Governor Kazuo Ueda told a newspaper interview on Saturday the BoJ could get enough data by yearend to judge whether conditions are in place to raise short-term interest rates.

Ueda’s remarks, which pushed up the yen and bond yields on Monday, followed those of BoJ board member Naoki Tamura last month that suggested the bank could safely hike short-term rates without hurting the economy.

“Even if the BoJ were to end negative rates, it won’t be scaling back monetary easing as long as it can keep interest rates low,” said Mr. Tamura, a former commercial bank executive.

The commentary contrasts in tone to the pro-growth posture adopted under Mr. Kuroda, an advocate of aggressive monetary easing to shock Japan out of its deflationary mindset.

It also suggests the BoJ under Mr. Ueda will be more inclined to prioritize unwinding the Kuroda-era policy framework, which has been blamed for distorting bond markets and crushing bank margin.

“The BoJ will proclaim that Japan has achieved 2% inflation and end negative rates in April,” said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Daiwa Securities and a veteran BoJ watcher.

To be sure, the BoJ is in no rush to phase out stimulus until there is enough data suggesting the economy can withstand the impact of weakening global demand and allow firms to keep hiking wages, say three sources familiar with its thinking.

But growing signs of change in Japan’s deflation-prone economy are making policy makers more open to discussing the hurdles for an exit, a sign they see decision-time approaching.

Inflation has exceeded the BoJ’s 2% target for more than a year as companies pass on higher costs to households. Firms also offered the largest pay hikes in three decades.

Even doves in the nine-member board have noted these changes.

“I believe Japan’s economy is finally seeing early signs of achieving the BoJ’s 2% inflation target,” said Hajime Takata, one such board member.

“We need to patiently maintain the current massive monetary stimulus. At the same time, we need to respond nimbly against uncertainties as we’re seeing early signs of a positive cycle emerge” between wages and inflation, he said.

Another board member, Junko Nakagawa, laid out the conditions for ending negative rates, notably a continued improvement in household confidence.

“When we see many people share prospects that wages will keep rising, we may be able to exit (negative rates).”

NO PRESET TIMINGSince taking the helm in April, Ueda has moved steadily toward phasing out stimulus. The BoJ tweaked policy in July to allow long-term rates to rise more reflecting higher inflation.

The next step would be to ditch or hike a 0% target set for the 10-year bond yield, and raise short-term rates from -0.1%.

Policy makers’ recent remarks suggest the BoJ could act sooner than markets expect. A majority of analysts polled by Reuters in August saw the BoJ scaling back stimulus only in a year’s time. Less than half expect negative rates to end in 2024.

There seems to be no consensus within the BoJ board, however, on when or how the bank would dismantle Mr. Kuroda’s complex policy framework.

Mr. Ueda said the BoJ could end negative rates if it believed that inflation would sustainably hold above the target.

His deputy Shinichi Uchida appeared to set a higher bar for ending negative rates, saying last month there was “still a long way to go” before conditions were met.

Next year’s wage outlook remains key.

Japanese firms traditionally kick off their spring “shunto” wage negotiations with unions in March. But the BoJ could get information before those talks through its regional branch offices and comments from corporate executives on the wage outlook, the sources said.

The global outlook would also be crucial with a downturn in the US and Chinese economies hurting manufacturers and discouraging pay hikes, the sources said.

“There’s so much uncertainty on the outlook for wages and Japan’s economy,” one of the sources said.

“The BoJ probably doesn’t have a pre-set timing in mind on when it can take the next step.” — Reuters

Neil Banzuelo

Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!


Editor’s Pick

<?xml encoding=”utf-8″ ?????????> Insiders have revealed that the HS2 Phase Two project, the high-speed rail line from Birmingham to Manchester, is expected to be...

Editor’s Pick

<?xml encoding=”utf-8″ ?????????> Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born media mogul known for his towering influence over British media and politics, has announced his retirement, marking...


A vendor surfs internet on her mobile phone as she waits...


The Philippines’ talent competitiveness continued to decline, according to a global...


The unfunded liability of the military and uniformed personnel (MUP) pension...



You May Also Like

Financial Advisors


Financial Advisors


Financial Advisors


Disclaimer: Respect, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2022 Respect Investment. All Rights Reserved.