November 20, 2012 / 3:25 AM / 5 years ago

BOJ keeps policy steady, holds fire ahead of December election

TOKYO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Tuesday after having eased for the second straight month in October, preferring to save its limited options for now as political pressure for bolder monetary expansion heightens ahead of a general election in December.

The central bank kept its assessment of the economy unchanged but warned of weakness in exports, output and capital expenditure due to a slowdown in overseas economies.

As widely expected, the BOJ kept its overnight call rate target unchanged at a range of zero to 0.1 percent by a unanimous vote and held off on expanding its asset-buying programme, its key monetary easing tool, from 91 trillion yen ($1.12 trillion).

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 has expanded monetary stimulus four times so far this year through an increase in asset purchases including in October, as the pain from weakening exports and factory output nudge the economy into recession.

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