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BOJ chief Kuroda says no reason to withdraw monetary stimulus now

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03/24/2017 | 05:17am CET
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda attends a Reuters Newsmaker event in Tokyo

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday there is "no reason" to withdraw the bank's massive monetary stimulus now as inflation remains far from its 2 percent target.

Kuroda also dismissed financial market concerns that at some point in the future the BOJ will lose its ability to control long-term interest rates under its yield-curve-control framework.

"While some improvements have been observed in economic and price developments, there is still a long way to go to achieve our price target," Kuroda said in a speech at a Reuters Newsmaker event.

Kuroda added that the BOJ won't increase its bond yield target just because overseas long-term interest rates are rising, a scenario some traders believe is inevitable.

The BOJ maintained its short-term interest rate target of minus 0.1 and a pledge to guide the 10-year government bond yield <JP10YT=RR> at around zero percent after a policy meeting on March 16.

It also kept intact a loose pledge to maintain the pace of its annual increase in Japanese government bond (JGBs) holdings, which is 80 trillion yen ($718.78 billion).

Japan's long-stagnant economy has shown signs of life in recent months, with exports and factory output benefiting from a recovery in global demand.

Core consumer prices rose for the first time in over a year in January and analysts expect them to continue to pick up slowly but steadily.

That has led to a dramatic shift in market expectations, with a majority of analysts polled by Reuters predicting the BOJ's next move would be to start scaling back its ultra-easy policy, likely beginning by raising its bond yield target.

Japan's domestic demand remains sluggish, however. Household spending fell 1.2 percent in January from a year earlier.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara and Stanley White; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Kim Coghill)

By Leika Kihara and Stanley White

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