1. At the Monetary Policy Meeting held today, the Policy Board of the Bank of Japan decided upon the following.
(1) Yield curve control
The Bank decided, by an 8-1 majority vote, to set the following guideline for market operations for the intermeeting period. [Note 1]
The short-term policy interest rate:
The Bank will apply a negative interest rate of minus 0.1 percent to the Policy-Rate Balances in current accounts held by financial institutions at the Bank.
The long-term interest rate:
The Bank will purchase Japanese government bonds (JGBs) so that 10-year JGB yields will remain at around zero percent. With regard to the amount of JGBs to be purchased, the Bank will conduct purchases at more or less the current pace -- an annual pace of increase in the amount outstanding of its JGB holdings of about 80 trillion yen -- aiming to achieve the target level of the long-term interest rate specified by the guideline.
(2) Guidelines for asset purchases
With regard to asset purchases other than JGB purchases, the Bank decided, by a unanimous vote, to set the following guidelines.
a) The Bank will purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japan real estate investment trusts (J-REITs) so that their amounts outstanding will increase at annual paces of about 6 trillion yen and about 90 billion yen, respectively.
b) As for CP and corporate bonds, the Bank will maintain their amounts outstanding at about 2.2 trillion yen and about 3.2 trillion yen, respectively.
2. Japan's economy is expanding moderately, with a virtuous cycle from income to spending operating. Overseas economies have continued to grow at a moderate pace on the whole. In this situation, exports have been on an increasing trend. On the domestic demand side, business fixed investment has been on a moderate increasing trend with corporate profits improving. Private consumption has increased its resilience against the background of steady improvement in the employment and income situation. Meanwhile, public investment has been increasing and housing investment has been more or less flat. Reflecting these increases in demand both at home and abroad, industrial production has been on an increasing trend, and labor market conditions have continued to tighten steadily. Financial conditions are highly accommodative. On the price front, the year-on-year rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI, all items less fresh food) is around 0.5 percent. Inflation expectations have remained in a weakening phase.
3. With regard to the outlook, Japan's economy is likely to continue its moderate expansion. Domestic demand is likely to follow an uptrend, with a virtuous cycle from income to spending being maintained in both the corporate and household sectors, on the back of highly accommodative financial conditions and fiscal spending through the government's large-scale stimulus measures. Exports are expected to continue their moderate increasing trend on the back of the improvement in overseas economies. The year-on-year rate of change in the CPI is likely to continue on an uptrend and increase toward 2 percent, mainly on the back of an improvement in the output gap and a rise in medium- to long-term inflation expectations. [Note 2]
4. Risks to the outlook include the following: the U.S. economic policies and their impact on global financial markets; developments in emerging and commodity-exporting economies; negotiations on the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (EU) and their effects; prospects regarding the European debt problem, including the financial sector; and geopolitical risks.
5. The Bank will continue with "Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing (QQE) with Yield Curve Control," aiming to achieve the price stability target of 2 percent, as long as it is necessary for maintaining that target in a stable manner. It will continue expanding the monetary base until the year-on-year rate of increase in the observed CPI (all items less fresh food) exceeds 2 percent and stays above the target in a stable manner. The Bank will make policy adjustments as appropriate, taking account of developments in economic activity and prices as well as financial conditions, with a view to maintaining the momentum toward achieving the price stability target.
[Note 1] Voting for the action: Mr. H. Kuroda, Mr. K. Iwata, Mr. H. Nakaso, Mr. Y. Harada, Mr. Y. Funo, Mr. M. Sakurai, Ms. T. Masai, and Mr. H. Suzuki. Voting against the action: Mr. G. Kataoka. Mr. G. Kataoka dissented, considering that, since there remained an excess supply capacity in capital stock and the labor market, monetary easing effects gained from the current yield curve were not enough for 2 percent inflation to be achieved around fiscal 2019.
[Note 2] Mr. G. Kataoka opposed the description on the outlook for the CPI, considering that, although the year-on-year rate of change in the CPI was likely to increase for the time being reflecting developments in crude oil prices and foreign exchange rates, the possibility of the rate of change increasing toward 2 percent from 2018 onward was low at this point.