March 17 (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan maintained its massive stimulus programme on Tuesday and signalled its conviction that a steady economic recovery will help achieve its ambitious price target without immediate, additional monetary easing.
Following are comments from BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at his post-meeting news conference:
“While weakness remains in some areas, private consumption is firm as a whole. Consumer sentiment has been cautious, but we’re seeing some positive signs on this front too.”
“Our QQE policy is exerting its intended effect. There’s absolutely no change to our stance of aiming to achieve our 2 percent inflation target at the earliest date possible with a timeframe of roughly two years.”
“Depending on oil price moves, we can’t rule out the possibility that core consumer prices will fall slightly year-on-year ...”
“Even if core consumer prices temporarily fall, what’s important is the broad price trend. I don’t see any big change in the broad price trend, so we won’t fret much on temporary price moves.”
On whether an oil-induced temporary slowdown in inflation could hurt inflation expectations:
“I don’t think such a risk is materialising or that it will materialise in the future...we’ll carefully monitor the output gap, medium- and long-term inflation expectations as well as companies’ price-setting activities.
“For now, I don’t think the underlying slowdown in inflation, driven largely by sharp falls in oil prices, will immediately affect the broad price trend.”
Asked about the most unexpected event since taking office two years ago:
“I think it was the sharp fall in oil prices. Nobody expected such a big drop. It was such a big, sharp drop that it affected not just Japan but the global economy.”
“It’s important to monitor how the divergence could affect markets and emerging economies...but the divergence reflects the different economic shape of each country and region. If so, the difference in policy should be positive for each economy, as well as for the global economy.”
“We are buying ETFs to change investors’ risk aversion and revive the economy by narrowing risk premium, not at supporting or propping up stock prices.
“Stock price moves basically reflect corporate earnings and their outlook...I don’t think markets are over-heating well beyond levels that properly reflect corporate revenues. There’s absolutely no truth to the view that the BOJ is directly intervening in the market to sway fund distribution through its ETF purchases.”
Reporting by Leika Kihara, Stanley White and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Jacqueline Wong