TOKYO Dec 20 The Bank of Japan eased monetary
policy on Thursday by expanding its asset-buying and lending
programme, a widely expected move in response to intensifying
pressure from incoming premier Shinzo Abe to deliver bolder
steps to beat deflation.
The central bank topped up its asset-buying and lending
programme by 10 trillion yen ($118.7 billion) to 101 trillion
yen by a unanimous vote, expanding stimulus for the third time
in the past four months.
It also said the board would review at its next
policy-setting meeting in January its guidelines for medium- and
long-term price stability, which is now set in a range of zero
to 2 percent consumer inflation.
As widely expected, the BOJ maintained its overnight call
rate target at a range of zero to 0.1 percent by a unanimous
BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa will hold an embargoed news
conference with his comments expected to come out some time
after 4:15 p.m. (0715 GMT).
The BOJ set a 1 percent inflation target in February, and
expanded monetary stimulus through an increase in asset
purchases in September and October, as the pain from weakening
exports and factory output nudge the economy into recession.