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BOJ December minutes show no sign of shock negative rate move to come

Bank of Japan (BOJ) policymakers debated the feasibility of adopting supplementary steps for their massive stimulus program, though they agreed that the broad price trend was improving steadily, minutes of their December rate review showed on Wednesday.

"The members agreed that there was no need to adjust monetary policy now as underlying trend inflation was improving steadily," according to the minutes of the Dec. 17-18 meeting.

A few of them said that fine-tuning the BOJ's "quantitative and qualitative easing" (QQE) would allow the central bank to swiftly ease if needed, the minutes showed.

At the December meeting, the BOJ adopted several steps to fine-tune QQE such as extending the average duration of government bonds it purchases. At a subsequent meeting in January, the BOJ stunned markets by deploying negative interest rates while maintaining QQE.

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