The Summary of Opinions from BoJ’s meeting on January 22-23 signaled the central bank’s intensified focus on initiating its first rate hike since 2007 and moving away from its long-standing negative interest rate policy. The deliberations, however, stopped short of providing a clear timeline for these policy shifts.
A notable hawkish sentiment within BoJ pointed to the “growing possibility” of significant wage revisions in the upcoming spring, at “relatively higher levels” than in the past. This perspective is underpinned by the recognition of “improving trend” in both economic activities and price. Such developments suggest that the necessary conditions for revising monetary policy, including ending the negative interest rate regime, are increasingly “being met”.
Concurrently, the impact of Noto Peninsula Earthquake on is a key factor under close observation. One opinion suggested that, after a thorough assessment of the earthquake’s effects over “the next one or two months”, BoJ is “highly likely to reach a point where it can normalize monetary policy”.
On the other side of the spectrum, a more cautious stance was also expressed. While acknowledging that the probability of achieving the BoJ’s 2 percent price stability target is becoming “more realistic”, it was noted that certainty in reaching this goal is not yet fully established. However, this view also supports the initiation of discussions regarding the exit from the current monetary policy stance.