The Bank of Japan published the minutes of its October 30 meeting. At that time, the BoJ left its interest rate range at zero to 0.1 percent and maintained the size of its asset purchase program at its current pace of Y80 trillion a year. Leading into the meeting, expectations were high that the BoJ would expand the size of its asset purchase programme from its current pace of Y80tn ($650bn) a year. But policymakers held fire, and did so again at another meeting this month.
The BoJ said "the underlying trend in inflation had been improving steadily, judging from developments in the output gap and inflation expectations", but added "most members concurred that, as for monetary policy for the immediate future, it was important for the Bank to maintain and steadily pursue the current policy."
Policymakers noted there were some positives about the domestic economy, including a resilient consumer and an improving labour market. That presented a reason for holding off on extra stimulus in October. But some areas, like exports and industrial production were just treading water. Furthermore, the Bank noted that developments in overseas economies were skewed to the downside.
The BoJ has said it expects to reach its inflation target by the second half of fiscal year 2016, rather than in the first half of that period, with the deflationary effect of low oil prices wearing some of that blame.
Minutes follow monetary policy board meetings with a four to five week lag. For example, minutes released on June 19 were for the meeting held on May 21 and May 22.
Investors who want a more detailed description of Bank of Japan opinions will generally read the minutes closely. The MPB may issue a statement after its monthly meeting but the minutes will be much more detailed. In particular they will reveal who voted for and against the Committee's decisions and provide a more detailed description of the MPB's thinking. As such, the minutes are a market mover as analysts parse each word looking for clues to future policy.
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