BOJ stands pat on policy, extends special loan schemes

TOKYO Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:38pm EST

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TOKYO Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Tuesday and maintained its upbeat assessment on the economy, unfazed by recent signs of slackening momentum in growth and signalling that any additional stimulus may be some time away.

The central bank also decided to extend three special loan facilities by one year from their scheduled expiry at end March. The facilities had been cobbled together between 2010 and 2012 as a way to drive funds through the banking sector to borrowers.

As widely expected, the BOJ voted unanimously to maintain its pledge of increasing base money, its key policy gauge, at an annual pace of 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen ($589-$687 billion).

BOJ 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 has stood pat since launching an intense burst of stimulus last April, when it pledged to accelerate inflation to 2 percent in roughly two years via aggressive asset purchases in a country mired in deflation for 15 years.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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