Less dovish language recently from the Bank of Japan (BoJ) may indicate that the central bank is out of options when it comes to monetary policy to buoy the sleepy Japanese economy.
While the Central Bank did keep policy unchanged at its recent meeting, it removed previous language surrounding the ability to lower interest rates further into negative territory if deemed necessary. The BoJ did cite that recent downgrading of inflation expectations would likely mean no change in policy.
The BoJ cannot be ruled out from providing additional stimulus measures in the coming months, though. Further monetary policy accommodation from the BoJ would be increased by a further deterioration in the domestic situation, especially in regard to inflation expectations. It may also be prompted by a lack of encouraging progression towards the BoJ's elusive price target.
The BoJ left the 80 trillion-yen monetary base and 0.1% negative interest rate. It will closely monitor the impact of negative rates and the only meaningful announcement is the exemption of Money Reserve Funds (MRFs) from the negative rates.
The BoJ has learned from the European Central Bank, taking its time with action and also downplaying expectations. The BoJ, like the ECB, fears it is reaching the limit of monetary policy.
Recently, the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve,announced no change in short-term interest rates. The policy seems to be to to "kick the can" down the road even further. The bank wants to support the recent stock market rallies and continue to mask the overall economic weakness that plagues the United States. Hear more about this in my new podcast.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor.
Chris Vermeulen is full-time trader and research analyst for TheGoldAndOilGuy Newsletter.