• 42% expect Bank of Japan to move at Oct. 30 board meeting
  • January is second-most popular pick for BOJ to adjust policy

Economists brought forward forecasts for when the Bank of Japan may next increase stimulus after economic data that pointed to the risk of the economy falling back into recession.

With concern growing that the weak outlook is making it more difficult for Governor Haruhiko Kuroda to reach his 2 percent inflation target, 15 of 36 analysts now predict the central bank will boost its unprecedented asset-purchase program at a meeting on Oct. 30, according to a Bloomberg survey conducted from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2. This is up from 11 in a September survey.

“Further easing is the only choice left to the BOJ,” said Masaaki Kanno, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and former BOJ official. “If the BOJ doesn’t act in October, its credibility will be hurt, triggering yen gains and slump in stocks.”

Two economists project a move at the next meeting ending on Oct. 7 while 13 don’t expect any policy change at all.

Barclays Plc and Credit Agricole SA are among those who brought their projections forward after an unexpected decline in Japanese industrial production in August points to the possibility of a second-straight quarter of economic contraction.

Options for further stimulus include speeding up the pace of Japanese government bond purchases to 100 trillion yen ($830 billion) a year from 80 trillion yen, extending the average maturities of JGBs bought, buying more exchange-traded funds and cutting the interest rate on excess reserves, according to Barclays economists Kyohei Morita and Yuichiro Nagai.

BOJ officials see little need for an immediate expansion of monetary stimulus and would prefer to hold off to get a clearer picture of the economic outlook, people familiar with their discussions told Bloomberg earlier this month.

While there’s a risk that gross domestic product shrinks in the third quarter “the question is whether this represents a slide into a full-blown recession or if it is a soft patch,” said Izumi Devalier, an economist at HSBC Holdings Plc. She is one of the 13 who don’t expect more easing. “The BOJ clearly thinks it’s the latter, and we’d agree.”

Kuroda began unprecedented stimulus in April 2013 with his aim to achieve the 2 percent price target in about 2 years. He said last week the bank expects to hit the target around the six months through September 2016, while that timing could change depending on oil prices.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE