Japan Jobless Rate Holds at 4.2% as BOJ Meets to Decide Easing

Japan’s jobless rate stayed the same in September as the Bank of Japan meets to decide whether to add to stimulus for the second time in two months.

The unemployment rate was 4.2 percent, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. That was the same as the previous month and matched the median forecast in a survey of 29 economists by Bloomberg News. A separate report showed 81 jobs available for every 100 applicants.

The world’s third-largest economy is at risk of contraction in the second half of the year, as slowing global growth and a dispute with China weaken exports and the end of car subsidies saps domestic demand. The government last week announced 750 billion yen ($9.4 billion) of stimulus to shore up growth and economists expect the BOJ to take additional monetary easing steps at its meeting today.

Exports fell 10.3 percent in September, the most since the aftermath of last year’s earthquake, figures from the Finance Ministry showed last week. Retail sales rose less than forecast in the same month as the expiry of government subsidies for car purchases hit demand, a report showed yesterday.

Honda Motor Co. yesterday cut its full year profit forecast by 20 percent as Chinese consumers shunned Japanese brands amid a territorial dispute. Canon Inc., the world’s largest camera maker, last week cut its full-year profit forecast.

Most economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expect the central bank to add 10 trillion yen to its asset-purchase fund at today’s meeting. At its last gathering that ended Oct. 5, the bank held off from more easing after expanding the fund in September.

Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. forecast two quarters of contraction in the Japanese economy through year-end.

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