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BOJ to maintain massive stimulus, rosy economic outlook

Leika Kihara
Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 | 4:00 PM ET

* Policy decision seen 0230-0500 GMT, no new action eyed

* BOJ to maintain view economy recovering moderately

* Tepid overseas growth to keep BOJ mindful of risks

* BOJ Governor Kuroda to brief media at 0630 GMT

TOKYO, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Bank of Japan policymakers, feeling some relief from a pickup in exports and the sliding yen, are set to maintain their ultra-loose monetary policy and upbeat economic projections on Thursday.

But with momentum lacking in emerging Asian nations - significant buyers of Japan's exports - and uncertainty about when the Federal Reserve will slow its asset purchases, the BOJ will likely remind markets it is watching overseas headwinds and stands ready to ease again if its inflation goal comes under threat.

For now, many board members expect the world's third largest economy to keep recovering moderately as Japanese consumers boost spending in the run-up to April's increase in the national sales tax.

A modest rebound in export volume in October also likely tempered concerns held by many BOJ officials about weakness in Japanese shipments overseas, analysts say.

"The BOJ has been saying all along that any slump in the economy after the sales tax hike will be temporary. If so, it can't justify easing again until it there is evidence the rebound (after the tax hike) is too weak," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute in Tokyo.

"I don't expect the BOJ to act again until around summer next year."

The central bank is widely expected to maintain the monetary framework it put in place in April, which aims to achieve 2 percent inflation in roughly two years by doubling base money through aggressive asset purchases.

STICKING WITH ITS ASSESSMENT

It is also seen sticking to its assessment that Japan's economy is recovering moderately with global demand seen picking up gradually.

Japan's economy slowed in July-September as exports and household spending moderated, although analysts expect growth to pick up in the current quarter as consumers try to beat the sales tax hike next April.

Soft exports have been a key concern for BOJ officials, who hope the global economy will pick up in time to make up for the expected downturn in household spending after the tax hike.

On Tuesday, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cut its global growth forecast, warning that slowing emerging markets are dragging on the world's economic recovery and advanced countries are struggling to pick up the slack after years of debt crises.

Pessimists in the BOJ's nine-member board have warned of sluggish emerging Asian growth and a lack of clear pickup in exports, despite the benefits from a weak yen.

An Oct. 31 meeting revealed the biggest rift in the BOJ board since Governor Haruhiko Kuroda launched his aggressive stimulus campaign in April, as three members dissented against the bank's rosy outlook for achieving its price target.

(Editing by Richard Borsuk)