As expected, BOJ policymakers decided to keep monetary policy unchanged in this week’s rate statement. But before y’all start thinking that there isn’t anything worth remembering from the event, you should take note of these key points and their implications for the Japanese yen’s forex trends.
1. Positivity… Positivity everywhere…
BOJ Governor Kuroda must’ve been a cheerleader in his past life, as he continued to rally on his peers in saying that the economy is doing a-okay. C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T, that’s me, I’m confident!
Policymakers assured that the Japanese economy has been recovering moderately, even upgrading their assessment of household spending and housing investment. According to their official statement, the steady improvements in job and income conditions have allowed consumers to shake off the negative vibes from the sales tax hike.
You see, back in April 2014, the Japanese government realized that they were spending more than what they were earning so they needed to up their revenue big time by increasing the consumption tax. While this move enabled the government to trim their deficit, it resulted to a nasty drag on spending since Japanese folks weren’t so happy about paying higher taxes on their purchases.
Heck, the April sales tax hike seems to have done the Japanese economy more harm than good, as it has been blamed for putting the country back in recession sometime last year. A quick review of Japan’s household spending figures reveals that there’s still a lot of work to be done, as expenditures are 10.6% lower on a year-over-year basis. Then again, BOJ officials probably know something that we don’t.
2. Kiuchi voted to taper asset purchases again
If there’s anyone more optimistic than Kuroda, its BOJ board member Takahide Kiuchi who once again voted to reduce the central bank’s stimulus efforts. At the moment, the BOJ is conducting asset purchases to the tune of 80 trillion JPY each month to pump up liquidity in the economy, effectively boosting lending and spending. For Kiuchi though, Japan no longer needs so much help and can get by with only 45 trillion JPY in monthly asset purchases.
Aside from that, Kiuchi also proposed that they implement a more flexible approach with their price stability targets, making regular assessments if their current asset purchases and interest rate levels are still appropriate. For now, Kiuchi remains the lone wolf in calling for a reduction in QE, as he has been unable to convince other voting members to join his pack.
3. Inflation might take longer to reach target
Remember when Kuroda declared that Japan will be able to meet its 2% inflation target within two years of its stimulus program? Time’s up, Mr. Governor, and the nation’s core CPI (minus the effect of the sales tax hike) is sitting at a measly 0.2%.
Of course Kuroda probably didn’t see the oil price slump coming at that time, as it turned out to be a huge curveball for most major economies early this year. Kuroda admitted that it will take much longer before the Japanese economy is able to meet its inflation goals, predicting that it might happen around the latter half of next year.
All in all, analysts say that the recent BOJ statement was slightly more upbeat this time around, as it featured some upgrades in economic assessment and a hawkish member voting to taper asset purchases. The Japanese yen barely drew any support from the event though, as forex traders still have their doubts. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the data dump from Japan next week will turn out!