Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Most Economists Expect More BOJ Stimulus -- But Not This Week

  • 29 of 42 economists surveyed predict a boost by midyear
  • Only 6 in Bloomberg poll forecast a move at Friday's meeting

The Bank of Japan is likely to add to its record monetary stimulus this year, but probably not at its policy meeting this week, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Thirty-six of 42 economists polled in recent days forecast that Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and the BOJ board will keep their asset-purchase plan unchanged on Jan. 29. Six of those surveyed project action this week while 13 don’t expect a boost to stimulus in the foreseeable future.

Waning inflation expectations, sliding oil prices and a reversal in the yen’s declines have put pressure on the BOJ to do more to fuel prices and growth in Japan. Some central bank officials view it a close call as to whether the board will add to stimulus at the conclusion of the Jan. 28-29 gathering, according to people familiar with discussions at the central bank.

The yen has strengthened about 1.5 percent against the dollar so far this year, while most other major currencies have weakened, eroding some of the advantage Japanese exporters had from the foreign exchange market. The Topix stock gauge had fallen 12 percent from the end of December to Tuesday’s close. It rose 2.8 percent at 9:54 a.m. in Tokyo.

“The BOJ will probably wait,” said Hiromichi Shirakawa, the chief Japan economist at Credit Suisse Group AG. “It wants to see more on how markets and the economy will react after all the turbulence.”

The Bloomberg survey was conducted Jan. 22-27.

At its last meeting in December, the central bank left its main monetary stimulus target unchanged while outlining operational changes for its purchases of government bonds, exchange-traded funds and real estate investment trusts.

Its policy of expanding the monetary base at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($676 billion), mostly through the purchase of government bonds, has been unchanged since October 2014.

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