BOJ stands pat on policy, sticks to inflation forecasts

TOKYO Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:30pm EST

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TOKYO Jan 22 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Wednesday and maintained its upbeat consumer inflation forecasts, encouraged by signs that a broadening economic recovery may nudge firms into spending more on wages and investment.

As widely expected, the BOJ voted unanimously to maintain its pledge of increasing base money, or cash and deposits at the central bank, at an annual pace of 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen ($575-671 billion).

BOJ board member Sayuri Shirai opposed a portion of the BOJ's economic assessment, saying that the pace of improvement in job and income conditions must be mentioned among risks to the economic outlook.

Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold an embargoed news conference from 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) with his comments expected to come out any time after 4:15 p.m. (0715 GMT).

The BOJ offered an intense burst of monetary stimulus in April last year, pledging to double the supply of money in two years by boosting purchases of government bonds and risky assets. It has stood pat on monetary policy since then.

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