BOJ's Kuroda says too early for more easing, to track impact of virus

Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda walks after meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Tuesday it was too early to adopt further easing measures though he would pay “maximum attention” to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Japan’s economy and prices.

Kuroda said China’s economic presence had grown larger and its supply chain linkages had expanded compared with during the time of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, thus the impact from the virus could also be large.

“The BOJ will pay maximum attention to the virus impact on our nation’s economy and prices, as well as the financial market movement,” Kuroda told parliament.

He said the BOJ had been gathering information and would exchange views with financial authorities of other nations at international meetings such as the G20.

“We will make sure to take necessary measures when needed.”

Kurod reiterated the BOJ would ease policy further if necessary but said it was not the time yet.

“It is too early to adopt further easing steps at the moment,” he said.

China is Japan’s second-largest export destination. The Chinese make up 30% of all tourists visiting Japan and nearly 40% of the total sum foreign tourists spent last year, an industry survey showed.

Hong Kong reported its first death from the coronavirus on Tuesday, the second outside mainland China from an outbreak that has killed 427 people, mostly in the Chinese province of Hubei.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Jacqueline Wong